Thursday, August 22, 2019
Genetically Modified Foods and the Labeling Debate Essay Example for Free
Genetically Modified Foods and the Labeling Debate Essay There has been an ongoing debate between consumers and the government regarding the use of Genetically Modified Foods in the market today. Ã¢â¬Å"Since the introduction of the Flavr Savr tomato, biotechnology companies continue to introduce genetically engineered agricultural products to consumersÃ¢â¬ (Whittaker). The Ã¢â¬Å"Flavr SavorÃ¢â¬ tomato was the first food available to consumers that was produced using technology involving the recombinant DNA techniques in 1993. This was the dawn of a new generation in food production, and thus a whole new world of genetically engineered foods. At the present time the government, more specifically, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not regulated labeling products that contain genetically engineered foods. Currently the policy for labeling all consumer products must meet the standards of the safety and nutritional assessment. The evaluations of genetically engineered foods by legal authority require that bioengineered foods must meet the same standards set forth for all imported and exported foods marked for human and animal consumption and according to the US FDA genetically modified (GM) foods meet these guidelines. Since the early 1990Ã¢â¬â¢s scientists has been researching new and improved techniques to bring plumper, juicer and insecticide resistant agricultural products to all consumers. But research such as this is nothing new to the scientific community and for over 50 years techniques have been used to create strains of wheat, rice, pears and many more crop species to create high yielding products that are capable of growing anywhere and anytime of the year. Currently, only one tenth of the world actually uses GM plants with the countries of Canada, US, Brazil and Argentina growing 90 percent of the GM crops (Freedman). With the majority of these crops being produced in North America, the US is seeing GM foods everywhere and this is drawing attention to different agencies and groups pushing to educate the public by labeling any products that contain genetically engineered foods. The US Food and Drug Administration has been dealing with the battle against labeling products with genetically modified organisms (GMO) for years, but regardless of the consistent scrutiny the FDA sticks firmly to the current regulations that govern the labeling of all foods for human and animal consumption. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FDC) Act, which drives the FDAÃ¢â¬â¢s safety regulations for food and food ingredients, Ã¢â¬Å"unless a significant safety risk exists or there is a sincere need for consumers to distinguish between food products before purchase, the FDA hesitates to mandate labeling of food productsÃ¢â¬ (Leggio). Joseph A. Levitt, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition with the US Food and Drug Administration states in his Ã¢â¬Å"Should the FDA Adopt a Stricter Policy on Genetically Engineered Foods? Ã¢â¬ testimony that Ã¢â¬Å"bioengineered foods and food ingredients must adhere to the same standards of safety under the FDC act that apply to their conventionally bred counterpartsÃ¢â¬ (Levitt, 81). With the strict laws set forth, the FDA remains consistent with its decision to maintain their current labeling program as it adheres to all safety standards of any food for consumption. The US FDA also assures the public that they have done significant research for decades on biotechnology foods to ensure it is safe for consumers, and additional testing is conducted years prior to the release of a GM product to the shelves. Scientists address all of the potential concerns to include the potential to adding new allergy causing proteins, removing vital nutrients and the possibility of introducing toxins, in these studies to ensure that unexpected results do not occur, Ã¢â¬Å"this testing provides a way to detect such changes at the development stageÃ¢â¬ (Levitt, 79) and it will also delay any release of products until they are able to find a solution. The FDA takes such precautions and studying all aspects of this technology to be confident that the risks are non-existent. Although the government has provided the public with research, publications, testimonies and scientific proof that the current law governing the labeling of food and animal products is appropriate and doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t require change, there is still much concern of the risks that the technology poses to humans. Barbara Boxer, a US Senator from California, introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act in 2001 in her testimony in Ã¢â¬Å"Should the FDA Adopt a Stricter Policy on Genetically Engineered Foods? Ã¢â¬ which states Ã¢â¬Å"all foods containing or produced with genetically engineered material bear a neutral labelÃ¢â¬ (Boxer, 76). This act was created based on the lack of data and concerns that GM products are introducing risks of exposure to many health issues to include food allergens, lack of nutrition and toxic ailments. These claims are legitimate, however, the US FDA does take precautions as stated by Joseph A. Levitt, specifically with these risks while conducting trials during the developing stages of the product. In 2011 there was a petition filed against the FDA which warranted the need for labeling of GM products. According to this petition Ã¢â¬Å"consumers are misled when food labels do not differentiate foods with known health properties from novel foods with unknown health consequencesÃ¢â¬ (Burgaard). An example of such health concerns come from a study performed in Scotland at the Rowett Institute in 1998. A plant biochemist named Arpad Pusztai conducted an experiment on rats who consumed a genetically engineered potato and his experiment concluded that the rats that were fed the modified potato Ã¢â¬Å"suffered growth and immune system-related changesÃ¢â¬ (Freedman). Ironically, the genetically modified potato used in this study Ã¢â¬Å"was not intended for human consumption it was, in fact, designed to be toxic for research purposes,Ã¢â¬ (Freedman) discrediting the research altogether. Additionally, Ã¢â¬Å"American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and more than twenty-five Nobel Prize-winning scientists have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that GM food carries any risk to human health and that genetically engineered crops are safe,Ã¢â¬ (Burgaard) which ties into the overall nutrition and safety assessment that genetically engineered foods meet the same standards that imported and exported foods at held too. In the end, the US Food and Drug Administration stands by the current law governing the policy on labeling genetically modified foods. They maintain their standing on mandated labeling even under the microscope of doubters, but most importantly the Ã¢â¬Å"FDAs process for evaluating bioengineered foods is one in which the public can have confidence that food biotechnology products must meet the laws safety standardsÃ¢â¬ (Maryanski). The FDA cares deeply of the health and wellbeing of the consumers in America and strive to meet the needs of the public in both food and nutrition education. Until the studies show significant risks or changes in the GM products warranting the need to readdress the process, the government and the US Food and Drug Administration believe their approach is relevant and remain firm to the present policies. Annotated Bibliography Whittaker, Michael A. Reevaluating The Food And Drug Administrations Stand On Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods. San Diego Law Review 35. 4 (1998): 1215. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. This journal review argues that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must reconsider its position on the labeling of genetically engineered food as well as consumer perceptions of the threat posed by genetically engineered foods. Freedman, David H. Are Engineered Foods Evil?. Scientific American 309. 3 (2013): 80-85. Environment Complete. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. This article discusses the debate over the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops. It covers comments from agricultural and environmental economist at the University of California, Berkeley, David Zilberman, on the benefits of GM foods compared to their health risks, a ban on GM crops by the European Union (EU), and the difference between selective plant breeding and mutagenic techniques. Leggio, Kelly A. Limitations On The Consumers Right To Know: Settling The Debate Over Labeling Of Genetically Modified Foods In The United States. San Diego Law Review 38. 3 (2001): 893. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. This journal review supports the decision of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods as a solution to accommodate consumer fears. There is a description of an approach designed to evaluate whether mandatory initiatives are appropriate to protect consumers right to know and the importance for states to follow guidelines established by the FDA. Should The FDA Adopt A Stricter Policy On Genetically Engineered Foods? PRO/CON. Congressional Digest 80. 3 (2001): Pages 76-95. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. This is a two part article that discusses genetically engineered foods and the potential need to adopt a more strict policy. The articles provided information from the perspective of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Joseph A. Levitt, the director of the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and US Senator, Barbara Boxer who speaks on behalf of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act and additional interviews that were conducted to give the audience an overall understanding of both sides of the debate. Burgaard, Sudhir. The Labeling Of Genetically Modified Foods Debate. Natural Resources Environment 28. 1 (2013): 55-57. Environment Complete. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. This article focuses on the debate on labeling of genetically modified (GM) food which reflects food safety concerns in the U. S. It highlights various legal issues related to use of GM foods which includes increased risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria, increased use of pesticides, and environmental effects. It briefs the audience about the Center for Food Safety filing a legal petition with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration regarding labeling of genetically engineered food. Maryanski, . James H. , Ph D. News Events. Genetically Engineered Foods. US Food and Drug Administration, 19 Oct. 1999. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. This testimony is from the perspective of the Biotechnology Coordinator with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that discusses the current regulations governing genetically engineered foods and the process that dictates what and how determines what a DNA derived food is labeled. It includes a variety of examples that justifies the current labeling regulations and why GM Foods may not require additional information for the consumers.