The Labeling Of Genetically Engineered Foods Position Paper At World Food Conference

1800 words - 7 pages

It is the position of Team Water that genetically altered foods are a hazard to the environment, should be strongly regulated by the government, and should be labeled. The right of every human being on this planet to know what we are ingesting and feeding to our children should not be infringed upon. To have the manufacturers of these foods wanting to keep such valuable and important information off of the labels of the goods that they produce is very irresponsible.
These genetically modified foods are still a relatively new technology and there has not been enough thorough testing done to determine unequivocally whether or not these products are safe for human consumption or for the environment .(1) There have been a number of studies done that do show possible detrimental effects of these foods. One study shows compelling evidence of a connection between genetically enhanced foods and allergies. Childhood allergies have been on the rise since 1996 in the U.S. Bacteria, viruses and other genes have been inserted into soy beans, corn and canola crops just to name a few. Evidence collected over the last ten years directly points to the fact that these foods are contributing to the increasing rate of allergies, and that there is a risk of these foods causing a life threatening reaction.(2)
Genetically modified foods can trigger allergies in a person that formally had no allergy problems related to their non genetically modified counterpart. If GM foods aren’t labeled and someone had an allergic reaction, it would be impossible to figure out the cause of their reaction. A good example of this occurred in the 1980’s. A dietary supplement known as L-tryptophan took the lives of nearly one hundred Americans. Thousands more became sick or suffered disabilities due to this product. Years later it was discovered that this supplement was a product of genetic engineering and that process was the probable cause of these deaths and diseases.(3) Without informative labeling it took years for this to be discovered. It was only finally realized what happened because the victims had three common symptoms. This deadly genetically modified item was almost not discovered and may have been left on the market. Perhaps if it was labeled correctly, this could have been nipped in the bud sooner.
Clearly labeled products are very important to the consumers. Especially if they have a specialized diet. They might want to pick out food items based on many things such as how the food was produced and whether or not it’s organic. Some might choose a diet enforced through religion. The Jewish faith states that all foods must be Kosher. Kosher foods are “pure”, and ensure fitness for consumption. An example of how genetically enhanced foods may effect the status of a Kosher food would be the “Frankenfish”. The Frankenfish is a salmon that was genetically enhanced by the addition of human growth hormone to increase the size and weight of the salmon. Eating this salmon...

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