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Genetically Modified Food

MGT 4370 - Business Ethics Dr. Paula Rechner

Jaclyn Gurski

on 3 May 2011

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Transcript of Genetically Modified Food

Ethical Issues Involving
Genetically Modified Food By: Team 7
Jeremy Bevill
Violet Campos
Brittany Castillo
Kristen Farmer
Jaclyn Gurski What is a Genetically Modified food? Genetically modified foods have had foreign genes (genes from other plants or animals) inserted into their genetic codes. Historically, farmers bred plants and animals for thousands of years to produce the desired traits. Humans then chose to mate individual animals or plants that carried the particular gene in order to make the desired characteristics more common or more pronounced. Genetic modification allows scientists to move desired genes from one plant into another -- or even from an animal to a plant or vice versa. For Example... Which crops are being genetically modified? Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, Corn and soybeans are the predominant crops being modified. Current World acreage of GM crops: 367 million acres in 2010 333.6 million acres in 2009 How widespread are GM crops? As recently as a decade ago, GM agriculture was virtually non-existent, but has since expanded rapidly, both in terms of total area planted and the number of countries involved. Rank Country 2010* 2009* Genetically Modified Crops
1 USA 165.1 158.1 Soybean, Maize, Cotton, Canola, Squash, Payaya, Alfalfa, Sugarbeet
2 Brazil 62.8 52.9 Soybean, Maize, Cotton
3 Argentina 56.6 52.6 Soybean, Maize, Cotton
4 India 23.2 20.8 Cotton
5 Canada 21.7 20.3 Maize, Soybean, Canola, Sugarbeet
6 China 8.6 9.1 Cotton, Tomato, Poplar, Payaya, Sweet Pepper
7 Paraguay 6.4 5.4 Soybean
8 Pakistan 5.9 Cotton
9 South Africa 5.4 5.2 Soybean, Maize, Cotton
10 Uruguay 2.7 1.9 Maize, Soybean

* Acreage in millions How are GM Foods Regulated? EPA, FDA, and USDA The FDA considers genetic bioengineering to be a mere extension of traditional agriculture. In 1992, the FDA determined that foods with GM byproducts were not significantly different than conventionally grown foods. Now that you know the facts, let us take a common approach to thinking about the ethical implications of Genetically Modified food and evaluate its potential risks and benefits...
Pros of GM Foods Genetically modified foods are needed to help start economic progress in poor countries. Once genetically modified seeds are introduced, economic development in the poorest of countries will start to flourish. There are over a billion people that are in need of food everyday that have to go without. In many parts of the world, the poor will now be able to eat. If you look at industrialized nations, they first had to have an agricultural revolution before they became developed nations. African scientists are thrilled to have GM seeds because it could allow them to grow in drought prone places, defend against known pests of the region, and enhance the nutrient content within the crops. By using GM seeds that protect against known pests in the region, they use less chemicals that contaminate the soil and water supplies. Here is a video clip by Monsanto promoting GM organisms Africa Needs Genetically Modified Seeds Bill Gates on Genetically Modified Seeds The farmers in Africa that are using a new strain of Maize can now feed their families, feed the livestock, as well as have some leftover to sell. Their children are being educated because of the money that is brought in by the new strain of maize. Here is a clip from an African farmer giving his testimony to how much better the new strain is... A farmer in Africa giving his testimony. This video is also made by Monsanto. Now let us examine some of the risks involved with Genetically Modified food... Monsanto False Advertising Accusations In 1997, Monsanto Co. was accused of false advertisment of their product RoundUp, a pesticide. Roundup is a pesticide used to kill weeds and unwanted grass and to prevent more from growing. Claims The advertisements made these claims: Remember that environmentally friendly Roundup herbicide is biodegradable. It won't build up in the soil so you can use Roundup with confidence along customers driveways, sidewalks and fences... Glyphosate's safety margin is much greater than required. It has over a 1000-fold safety margin in food and over a 700-fold safety margin for workers who manufacture it or use it. You can feel good about using herbicides by Monsanto. They carry a toxicity category rating of 'practically non-toxic' as it pertains to mammals, birds and fish. Promises Based on those claims, one could assume that Monsanto's glyphosate-containing pesticide: Is safe and will not cause any harmful effects to people or the environment.
Is safe because it will quickly break down into natural substances.
Is less toxic than certain common household products.
Is practically non-toxic, which implies broad application to all potential toxic effects (acute and chronic).
What is Glyphosate? By definition, glyphosate is a herbicide that is taken into the system of a plant, affecting it's growth. Glyphosate is believed to be rather specific and less toxic to the ecosystem than are other pesticides. However, it is suggested that the presence of Roundup adjuvants enhances glyphosate bioavailability and/or bioaccumulation. "Re-registration" The data necessary for registration had changed over time. EPA was then in the process of re-evaluating all pesticide products through a process required by Congress called "re-registration." Monsanto's absolute claims that Roundup "will not wash or leach in the soil" is not accurate. Ruling Monsanto was fined 19 thousand dollars for misleading the public about the environmental impact of Roundup. Monsanto's French distributor was also fined 19 thousand dollars. Monsanto was ultimately fined for it's effect on aquatic organisms and for the protection of water. With a continuous awareness of the dangerous effects Roundup can have, sales have since dropped steadily. Create allergies Cons of GM Foods Unintended harm to other organisms Pregnant women and babies at great risk

Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.”

The experience of actual GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural soy. The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.

When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles actually changed color—from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice fed GM soy had altered young sperm. Even the embryos of GM fed parent mice had significant changes in their DNA. Mice fed GM corn in an Austrian government study had fewer babies, which were also smaller than normal.

Reproductive problems also plague livestock. Investigations in the state of Haryana, India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US, about two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.

In the US population, the incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating. Effects of GM foods Genetic Modification - The Movie! Gene transfer to non-target species Labeling of GM food Allows humans to become resistant to antibiotics Unknown effects on human health Should we have genetically modified food? How do you weigh the benefits and risks of this technology? Necessary to relieve world hunger? Monsonto Company Our Pledge
The Monsanto Pledge is our commitment to how we do business. It is a declaration that compels us to listen more, to consider our actions and their impact broadly, and to lead responsibly. It helps us to convert our values into actions, and to make clear who we are and what we champion. Brofiscin Quarry Agent Orange
Vinyl Chlorides
Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB’s)
Indonesia Bribe Problems in Other Countries Brazil
Korea What are your ethical concerns with Genetically Modified food? Should there be GM foods? Are GM foods necessary? Environmental safety? Human well-being? Discussion Thank you for a great semester! Discussion Effects of Roundup (A) and equivalent quantities of glyphosate (B) on JEG3 placental cell viability in a serum-containing medium. This was evaluated by the MTT assay, the results are presented as percentages compared with nontreated cells. Cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of Roundup or equivalent concentrations of glyphosate for 18, 24, or 48 hr (n = 9). The LD50 is indicated by a dashed line. Error bars indicate SE.
*p < 0.05;
**p < 0.01.
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