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Reid: Awesome Or Not? Essay

1769 words - 8 pages

Today, our society is plagued by a myriad of books, essays, documentaries, reports,
testimonies, and product labels all dealing with the intricacies and intimacies of food production. They serve as mediums through which farmers, scientists, activists, and consumers can address current issues pertaining to food and exchange ideas about our attitudes towards it. As much as this is a scientific debate, it is also philosophical in nature, and for this reason, its participants have become increasingly vehement in their endeavors to advocate their positions, all of which are developed based off opinions on one topic alone: our diet.
Aside from perhaps the technological revolution of roughly the ...view middle of the document...

This may not be entirely clear, however. After all, isn’t corn just one product, albeit a product of many brand names? Not quite. Running parallel to the advances made in genetic manipulation of species were other evolutions in food technology. Beginning in the 1970’s, high fructose corn syrup and innumerable other corn derivatives started to take form, and today, these derivatives lace literally thousands of food and non-food products alike. Furthermore, calories from corn compose over 50% of the average American’s diet, a trend which has not been observed during any other time in history. If, in light of these facts, nothing else is clear, it should be more than obvious that corn is a deeply fundamental aspect of not only our diet, but many other products which we use every day.
Although the USDA-sponsored food pyramid has been refined over years, nearly everyone in the United States has been exposed to some form of it at one time or another, and if nothing else is consistent across these versions, it is most definitely consistent that some type of balance is key, and even to the least educated consumer, it should occur to him or her that a diet of which more than half is consisted of corn is hardly balanced. It should hardly come as a surprise that there is a mountain of controversy surrounding this topic. Other than just a simple imbalance, there are multiple other reasons why the omnipresence of corn in our diet is disturbing. To begin, the vast majority of corn we consume now is genetically modified. Many claim that the corn on the shelves would hardly resemble wild maize, both in appearance and chemical composition. Additionally, this genetically modified corn is almost entirely what the food industry uses to feed livestock, many species of which did not evolve to be compatible with such a diet. For example, as described in the documentary Food Inc., a cow which consumes a diet primarily of corn cannot regulate its intestinal levels of E. coli, a bacteria which, when infecting humans, has great potential to be lethal. Another issue is raised in the planting and harvesting of the crop itself. Although the method is sure to be a large contributing factor to the problem, GMO corn does not interact with the environment in the same way that pure Zea mays does. Primarily, it depletes the soil of its nutrients, which must be replaced with nitrogen and other chemical additives. In excess, these compounds can find themselves in waterways and wreak havoc on aquatic environments. However, these costs of GMO are small compared to the benefits, claim proponents of GMO crops. It is true that GMO crops have a much higher yield rate, do not require nearly as many toxic pesticides, and own a plethora of other traits that might be found in a dream crop, all of which, utilitarian supporters of GMO might argue, justify the harvesting of GMO crops for food, as, apparently, these high rates of efficiency cannot be met by organic farming.
In spite of these...

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