“GM Everything” by Esteban Torres - Week 6

392893993_849919f0be         Esteban Torres - Week 6 Blog

      “Hey, farmer, farmer, put away that D.D.T., now! 
Give me spots on my apples 
But leave me the birds and the bees, please!”  These are lyrics from the song “Big Yellow Taxi,” originally by Joni Mitchell and covered by the Counting Crows (one of the best bands ever!)  These lyrics probably represent the opinion of most of us in terms of genetically modified food.  Most of us eat GM food all of the time, but not because we understand the dangers of it (if there are dangers), but because it is the food available to us at a decent price at the supermarket.  But if we knew that these foods will harm us in the future, we would not be eating them.  At this point many of the effects are unknown to us, so of course, most of us rather shop at a regular supermarket than an overly priced Whole Foods. 

            Without even having to go in as far as genetically modified food, some of the things that companies do to sell their products seem deceitful.  For example, the fact that some fruit are coated in wax and are actually incredibly old (preserved) when we buy it at the supermarket.  This is a situation similar to that of the McDonalds fries that we looked into in class, where the fries would last for months without decomposing.  By knowing so little, I feel I am being deceived when I learn that companies are selling to me these products as food. 

            I learned that GM foods were introduced to the market in the 90s.  Way too little time has passed to see any lasting risks for the consumers.  What worries me is that food is getting modified for financial purposes of the individual companies as marketing techniques, and that we might be falling for potentially dangerous traps when we buy the larger, “redder” strawberries, which will eventually cause cancer or some disease of the sort.

            Another topic we looked at in class this week is art and genetic modification of animals.  In the reading, a specific subject of interest was Eduardo Kac’s GFP bunny.  This fluorescent bunny caused much controversies and helped form the debate about genetically modifying animals to create new creatures.  A great concern about such a creature is that if they are released into the wild and they breed with other animals of the same species, then the genes will propagate and be dangerous to the species.  I considered this fluorescent bunny running around and passing its genes.  We don’t know what this new genetic makeup implies aside from making the bunny look green; the thought of people do this is scary.  So few people could put the entire world at risk for some silly experiment. 

            Fluorescent bunnies would be easy to spot (especially in the dark) but I can imagine there are innumerable ways to modify genes, and a lot of these modifications must be unnoticeable.  So I just hope that there aren’t some crazy scientist somewhere putting entire species at risk by being irresponsible and releasing genetically modified animals. 

            Obviously, there must be benefits to these innovations and discoveries, but I hope that scientists are responsible about it.  I mean, no one is asking ME if I think some of these things are the right or wrong thing to do.  It seems unfair that some people might put my world at risk to satisfy their artistic thirst.  But then of course, so many people are out there doing amazing research and original thinking that will eventually cure a disease I might get some day.  I hope I don’t.  Knock on wood. 

Sources

“Is The Wax Coating On Apples Harmful? - IndusLadies.” IndusLadies - Global Online Community of Indian Ladies. 16 Feb. 2009 <http://www.indusladies.com/forums/healthy-foods/20937-is-wax-coating-apples-harmful.html>. 

“Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?” CSA. 15 Feb. 2009 <http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php>.

 

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