The Potential of Food Labels

Today, about 80% of the food that are processed and bought by the consumers are genetically modified, or known as GMOs (Hemphill). As food technology and nutirion science advance and companies seek profit over nutrition in the food, clear food labeling is no longer there for the people to understand what is in the food that they are eating everyday. The GMOs are products that are made by the scientists who are experts in this field, and it is difficult for those who are not as educated as them to understand how modified foods are made and composed of. Even though it may be difficult to get rid of GMOs due to increase in number of companies that profit off of GMOs, the regulators and companies should label and inform about the GMOs in their product with easier descriptions that many could easily understand what is inside their food.

GMOs are known to cause many health problems in our body. According to an article, “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks,” the rats were fed with Bt corn, which is a genetically modified corn, for up to 120 days. The result was that the rats developed myriads of health problems such as changes in blood cells, kidneys, and livers (Smith). Likewise, a study shown in an article “Arpad Pusztai and the risks of Genetic Engineering,” DNA of soybeans were altered with a gene from Brazil nuts. While after, scientists saw that those modified beans were altered to cause allergic reactions. These genetically modified foods are hard for us to evaluate due to lack of knowledge on them. However, easy-to-understand descriptions and clear labeling would help consumers to be aware of what they are eating and know how consuming the product can impact their health, helping them to make better food choices. 

The current problem of labeling food product is that big companies have too much power over the regulations with their immense money. An example can be seen in lobbying process by Monsanto, the largest seed corporations in the world. This company produces seeds that are genetically modified in way that the seeds resist herbicides and weed killers. When the citizens try to protest or take action against the GMOs that they are making, Monsanto prevents any laws from passing by paying immense money to the lobbyists. This corporation is said to spend an average of six billion dollars on lobbying every year (Sarich). If their modified products are as safe as they say they are, corporations like Monsanto should not be afraid of labeling their products. And by adding these labels, it would make consumers should feel safer as some may feel cautious of eating GMOs. Even though labeling more on the products may cost more money for the companies, it should be regulated as spending on lobbying costs a lot of money as well, and companies should know that trust from the consumer is a big factor that will make their business more successful and sustainable.

It can be overwhelming to think about the corruption of our government and big businesses that only revolve around making a profit. But we need to take time to learn and look deeper into how things are regulated and what we are eating on daily basis. We need to realize these hidden facts that the big companies are hiding and fix it for the sustainable food system and future generations to come.

Edward Choi

1.Hemphill, Thomas A., and Syagnik Banerjee. “Mandatory Food Labeling For Gmos.” Regulation 37.4 (2014): 7-10. Business Source Premier. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

2.Smith, Jeffrey . “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks.” Organic Consumers. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr 2013.

3.Sarich, Christina. “The 10 Companies Controlling the World’s Seed Supply.”Nation of Change.   N.p., 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

4.Fig.1. GMO Bell Pepper Injection.

Animal Rights to a Certain Quality of Life

Humans have excluded themselves as the superior group of animals placing themselves on top of the food chain. The idea of humans as the superior specie in the animal kingdom is excused by many because of their more developed cognitive abilities. This superiority causes humans to ignore the rights of other animals or simply blinds them to the issue of animal abuse already occurring. Animals should have the right to a certain quality of life because they are conscious beings capable of experimenting emotions, their importance in everyday human life, and the knowledge gained from studying them.

The school of thought that advocates for the lack of emotions in animals has roots in an ancient Greek philosophy that animals have no soul, therefore, are incapable of feeling emotions. Famous philosophers such as Aristotle were strong promoters of this idea (Allen, Colin). Animals were portrayed as mere reflex-driven machines with no intellectual capacity. This image has been passed down throughout history and is very much intact today. The lack of care for animal rights is exposed every day in slaughterhouses where thousands of animals live their whole lives in filthy, tight spaces, are fed with harmful growth hormones, and are killed in horrendous ways. Major food companies are looking to meet the demand for fast and cheap animal produce without a concern for the lives of the animals. Although the U.S government has passed Humane Slaughter laws, they are hardly ever kept (Library, National). These animals are raised in their own manure, and are often tortured before they die. Jonathan Balcombe, the director of the Human Society Institute for Science and Policy, has executed experiments that prove his hypothesis of the presence of animal emotions. He observes animal behavior when petting takes place. In 2014 he studied the behavior of goats and sheep. Each individual animal had different preferred petting spots; they all reacted differently when the petting stopped. Enjoyment was a clear emotion shown; aggression also took place when one of the animals was not petted correctly. Balcombe states, “Watching these creatures pursue their wants and needs reminds me that they are individuals with intentions and preferences” (Balcombe, Jonathan).

It is reasonable to assume that not every person in the world will leave animal products as a food source; they do contain nutritional value after all. The change does not have to be found in the overall termination of animal farming, but in the alternatives to factory farming. Large industries see animals as unit numbers of production or property. The degrading conditions animals live in can be reduced if local and smaller farms, businesses, and movements are able to complete the process (Farming, Beyond). This system will unleash a chain reaction of animal care that will be reflected in other aspects of animal abuse. Many animals experience as much or more emotions than a human baby; therefore, they deserve better treatment than what they have been receiving for decades.

Sergio Monterroso

  1. Allen, Colin, and Michael Trestman. “Animal Consciousness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 23 Dec. 1995. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  2. Library, National Agricultural. “Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.” United States Department of Agriculture. United States Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  3. Balcombe, Jonathan. “Yes, Animals Have Feelings.” LiveScience. Purch, 10 Dec. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  4. Farming, Beyond Factory. “Beyond Factory Farming.” Alternatives to Factory Farming | Beyond Factory Farming. N.p., Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.