An article in the NY Times, states that over the last week President Obama signed an agriculture bill, Section 735 of HR 933 that is being called “Monsanto Protection Act.” Although there was 250,000 signatures protesting the provision. The author of the article implies that Congress is once again protecting corporations. There is a provision of the bill that will prohibit the Department of Agriculture from stopping production of a genetically modified crop once it is planted in the ground, and federal court would be powerless to stop selling the crop, even if it is found harmful. Genetic seed engineering is a seed that has been genetically altered but transgenic engineering which is a gene, most likely from another species of plant, bacterium or animal in added to the plant for positive changes have not worked as well as they hoped, but they do generate more income than normal seeds. Monsanto has worked on genetically engineering crops for twenty years and have had some success along with more failure. One of their successes is the roundup ready seed, these seeds allows farms to spend less time weeding. 90% of soybeans and 70% of corn is a roundup ready seed and mostly Monsanto owned. The other genetic success was seeds developed to contain insect resistance, and they are now finally seeing a resistance.
Critics say, Section 735 could be the “most dangerous food act ever” and a “terrifying piece of policy.” Stonyfield Farm posted a blog post claiming that this provision benefits the biotech companies and could be potentially harmful to consumers. “Even if the courts find that a (genetically engineered) crop shouldn’t be planted until more research is done about its safety, no one could stop that crop from being planted, even temporarily. This provision clearly tells us that Congress thinks public health and safety should take a back seat to the expansion of GE crops.”
The thought of genetically altering foods we eat is quite a controversial topic. Many are against the idea of genetically enhancing animals or plants we eat. According to the CNN article, “The good, the bad and the genetically engineered”, genetic modification could be beneficial to human health contrary to the common belief. The article explains that it is possible to make healthy foods even more healthy with genetic enhancement. For instance an orange could be programed to have nutrient levels equivalent to a multivitamin or tomatoes and broccoli could be injected with cancer fighting substances. The article also explains that the “good” in certain plants and animals could be crossed with another plant or animal to create new foods that were never seen before. The article also suggests the idea of altering genes in certain foods to enable anyone allergic to be able to consume the food. An article on Wired Science discusses the idea of ”clipping genes” in peanuts to reduce the risk of food accidents. Wired Science explains that it will be difficult to create a perfectly safe peanut; however, researchers have been trying to discover a way. Personally I never really liked the idea of genetically altering foods; however, my view point has been changed after reading the articles on CNN and Wired Science. The articles clearly presented positive usage of genetic modification in foods, proving genetic enhancement is not always a bad thing.
This article, written in the New York Times by James Kanter, exemplifies the global skepticism of genetically modified foods. The German chemical company BASF has decided not to sell genetically modified foods in Europe mainly because of the popular distrust among people and the unknown longterm health effects of the products. BASF’s withdraw includes the disease resistant variety of Fortuna potatoes and the disease resistant variety of wheat. Both products are not currently marketed anywhere else in the world. This popular decision for BASF to terminate their marketing plans will cause 140 research jobs in Europe to be lost. Many of those jobs will now be relocated to their North Carolina plant. Even though BASF has decided not to market genetically modified products in Europe, these products are being imported into Europe by other companies based in other countries such as the United States. Genetically modified foods are not supported by environmentalists and are still very unpopular to the majority of people due to the unknown health effects.
Genetically Modified Fortuna Potatoes
Genetically modified products can be a positive for our world’s fast growing population. More research and tests need to be done in order for the majority of the population to give genetically modified foods a try.