Original Mediation Essay

guiltlesscyanBiotechnology

Dec 3, 2012 (4 years and 11 months ago)

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Sofia Piñero






















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English 250
-

VE

John Domini

4/2
/12


Safety of Geneticall
y Engineered Foods


The controversy of genetically

engineered foods provides
chal
lenges for the U.S. government
as
many people question its potential.
Some scientists predict hazardous outcomes with GE

(Genetically
Engineered)

foods, while others state that GE foods are no different than regular foods in terms of health
risks. What most experts agree on is that the
food regulation system is flawed, which leaves people
wondering, “
How safe are these foods?”


GE foods
, also known as biotech,

are crops,
livestock
, and bacteria

that have been altered by artificial
gene
-
transfer in order to yield a
certain
desired trai
t.

Some desired traits include
herbicide resistance,
improved nutritional content, pest resistance,
etc.

(Whitman).

Genetically engineered foods are not to be
confused with food additives, as food additives do not change the genetic make
-
up of crops and

livestock;
they are mostly used as flavor enhancers (
Ausubel
).
According to

an article by

WebMD, “60
-
70% of
processed foods in U.S. grocery stores have genetically modified ingredients”.

Some
argue that

genetically
engineered foods are a hazard to human h
ealth and the environment,
and
therefore must be labeled GE
in the
market

or banned entirely
. The

FDA argue
s that lab
eling is unnecessary and costly

because Congress would
have to make quite a few changes in the existing labeling policy (Whitman).




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Those against biotech foods fear
antibiotic resistance, creation of a “super weed”, and

other
accidental adverse effects on crops, animals, and humans.


Most of these fears, however, are long term and
will not be validated
until further testing
oc
curs
.


As stated earlier, most experts agree that the safety regulation system is flawed. A CSPI (Center for
Science in the Public Interest) study found that biotech companies haven’t voluntarily complied with federal
regulations in the
past.
Even Monsa
nto, an agricultural biotech company, have
had errors
in their
submissions and their products have still made it in grocery stores

(“Are Biotech…”
).

The fear of the

“super
-
weed” stems from
crops
, like soybeans and canola,
engineered
to

be resistant
to
herbicides. With herbicide
-
resistant crops, some scientists fear that there will be an overuse of

the

glysophate

based

Round
-
up

herbicide

which can be
harmful to the environment (
Ludwig
)
.

The creation

of a
super
-
weed has already occurred in the
UK and Canada,
resulting in no GE foods commercially grown there
(
Brown
)
. Weeds have
large variation in their genetics and are therefore easily
adaptable to their surroundings


Furthermore, GE pesticide producing crops are also starting to negatively im
pact the environment.
According to Greenpeace, these crops secrete toxins called Bt

that have proven to be toxic towards harmless
species and even towards beneficial insects. Green lacewings

are helpful in keeping the maize pest
population under control

an
d are

being
threatened with the Bt toxin
.

The lacewings die fro
m the toxins
because they eat
the

infected prey

(“Environmental and health...”)
.





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One of the most immediate risks

with

bio
tech food

is the creation and spread of dangerous allergens
.
When put into a specimen, foreign and engineered proteins can cause allergic reactions in c
ertain people
(“Are Biotech…”
)
. In

2000
,

Starlink mod
ified corn seed(approved by the EPA for animal
-
consumption o
nly)
contaminated Kraft products resulting in massive recalls due to several incide
nts of allergic reactions (“Are
Biotech…”
).


Supporters of GE food
s contend that GE products

are no more dangerous than regul
ar food products

and contain so many advantages, for both the crops and humans, such as pharmaceuticals, enhanced
nuitrition, and resistance to disease, pests
,
etc
.




Researchers continue to find innovations in medicine as they try to create edible vaccines for use i
n
third world countries. In March 2012, scientists in Texas A&M have accomplished such a task by genetically
engineering a goat to carry a malaria vaccine in her milk (Berkow
itz).
Injectable vaccines and certain
medicines are more difficult to store and sp
read in third world countries because they require special
conditions and a trained professional to prescribe/administer them (Whitman).

With the creation of an edible
vaccine, transpo
rtation costs and storage

difficulties would
drop
.

Another benefit to

genetic engineering is that it can
help reduce hunger and malnutrition around the
world.
An article by National Geographic
addresses the issue of hunger in third world countries:



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between 100 million and 140 million children in the world su
ffer from vitamin A deficiency,
some 500,000 go blind every year because of that deficiency, and half of those children die within a
year of losing their sight
.”

In an attempt to solve this issue, scientists engineered a “golden rice” that contained beta c
arotene, a building
block of vitamin A, for distribution in developing countries (Ackerman).

Scientists also genetically
engineer
crops to grow closer together so farmers can plant more. This results in increased yield of crops, which, in
addition to d
isease and drought resistance, can also be sent to third world countries in the form of a seed.



Lastly, supporters of biotech foods contend that ther
e is always the organic option for those who
demand labeling on GE food products. The costs labeling woul
d be very high, seeing that 60
-
70% of
products in grocery stores contain a genetically engineered ingredient (Byrne). There is also the concern that
if all biotech foods were labeled, people would be less interested in buying
due to the stigmas associated

with
genetic engineering (“Are Biotech…”
).


In conclusion, the possibilities of genetic engineering are too big to ignore. It is not probable that GE
food will be completely banned; however, the fears associated with biotechnology should not be shrugged
off. With Monsanto products
being rushed for c
ommercial usage without proper testing
, there is no guarantee
that the GE crops will continue to be harmless in t
he future. Genetically engineered products
should go
through a safety test over time so that it can be introduced into markets without

futu
re

consequence
. That
would mean stricter federal safety regulations for biotech companies like Monsanto to deter them from any
attempts around the system.


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Works Cited

Ackerman, Jennifer. “Altered Food, GMO’s, Genetically Modified Food.”
National

Geographic:
Science.
National Geographic Mag.,May2002.Web.23March2012

Ausubel, Warren. "Food Additives and Pesticides."

Berkeley Technology Law Journal
.

University of
California. n.d.Web. 23 Mar. 2012.

“Are Biotech Foods Safe to Eat?”
WebMD,

WebMD, LLC.,
nd. Web.23March2012

Berkowitz, Lana. "Malaria Vaccine in A&M Goats' Milk Could save Lives."

Houston Chronicle
.

Hearst
Communications Inc., 3 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2012.


Brown, Paul. “GM crops created superweed, say scientists.”

The Guardian.
Guardian
News and

Media
Limited.
24July2005.Web.23March2012

Byrne, P. "Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods."

Colorado State University Extension
.

Sept. 2010.
Web. 23 Mar. 2012.


“Environmental and health impacts of GM crops
-

the science.”
GreenPeace.
n.p. Sept
ember

2011.Web23March2012

Ludwig, Mike. "Feds Approve Monsanto Herbicide
-
Resistant Crops."

Truthout
. n.p., 15 Feb.

2011. Web.
23 Mar. 2012

Whitman, Deborah. “Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?” (2000):
ProQuest.
Web.

23March2012






Excell
ent

Good

Fair

Needs
Work

Context





Position
: thoughtful
,
perceptive
definition

of
central question
;
scope is sufficiently narrow


X



Purpose
: approach

overall

clarifies

mediation purpose


X



Substance





Development
: sufficient
summary and insight
about topic;
paragraphs focused and
yet
fully developed



X


Sources
: appropriate for topic
, pertinent in placement,
and
accurately cited

in text;
all quotations introduced correctly



X


Organization





Thesis
: a t
hesis, early or late,
that clearly states
both sides of
question and its mediation


X



Introduction

and
Conclusion
: overview of organization given
at the beginning; conclusion sums up key points


X



Relationship
: relationship of ideas clear; coherent;
transitional
devices used to guide reader



X


Unity
: all paragraphs
contribute to

thesis; paragraphs
structured around controlling ideas; no tangents


X



Sequence
:
mediation

emerges

in a logical order; organization
for essay is clear
& effective



X


Style





Style
: clear and concise writing; no confusing or awkward
writing


X



Sentence structure
: sentences varied; subordination and
coordination used effectively


X



Vocabulary
: precise, vivid and appropriate word choice



X



Conventions &

Correctness



free from sentence
-
level errors



free from word
-
level errors


X



Delivery





Visuals
: any visuals used are integrated effectively with titles
and captions


X



Works Cited
: typed Works Cited page attached to each final
draft that
correctly cites sources


X



Formatting
: 1” margins, Times or Times New Roman 12 point
font; MLA header; page numbers on pages
; double
-
spaced


X




____
X
_Workshopped. / Overall
Comments
:

The improvement in your work this semester is
impressive, &
especially so in your organization. Your outline overall,
here, is the strongest ele
ment. The brief transitional ¶s, before the
“against” arguments & then the “for,” need work clarifying their
purposes, but their placement & the strength of the outline soo
n enough
makes that purpose clear. The “against” side is the weaker of the two,
raising accusations without specifics, & there’s awfully little about
the labeling issue too. Still, this is solid college research, & the
control of mechanics is also admirab
le.
B or 85.