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Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President:
The debate on genetically modified food has hit a roadblock. The question now is this: do we allow United States citizens to keep consuming processed, unnatural, chemically engineered food—or do we attack the booming food corporations feeding American profit? Go back to the time when aromas in the kitchen signaled fresh picked corn on the cob, roasted chicken from the coop, and grandma’s homemade apple pie. Now, that same “home-cooked” meal consists of pesticide infused corn, hormone enhanced chicken, and apple pie so full of preservatives that it only brings the doctor knocking.
First and foremost, genetically modified (GM) food is not safe to eat. Modifying food is a crude and imprecise way to acquire revenue that has unpredictable consequences. As reported by CNN, Monsanto, the leading GM farming corporation, acquired nearly $10 billion in revenue in 2011. Critics argue that patenting genetically altered crops will make small farmers indentured to larger ones.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, most GM foods have undergone little rigorous and long-term safety testing. Biotech firms develop GM crops much too fast and do not deploy adequate testing or public debate. Additionally, the government offices that oversee food production and distribution like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency are too negligent in their scrutiny and regulations. The mere fact that the effects are unknown should raise some concern—especially to people with food allergies. There is a possibility that introducing a new gene into a plant will give rise to new allergens or cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
Though farmers can modify crops to be herbicide tolerant, pesticide resistant, and prevent various diseases, it is unethical to do so. By artificially modifying specific genes for various traits, organisms are put under a tremendous amount of biological stress. As mentioned by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, it is not right to tamper with nature by mixing genes among species and violates natural organisms’ intrinsic values. Evolution takes millions of years to effect genetic change. What right do we have to simply make adjustments overnight?
Changes this drastic cannot be altered with a quick fix, but I propose a gradual solution. Inform the naïve public of genetic modification and promote foods free of alterations by clearly labeling them. As of now, in the United States, producers are not required to label GM foods. If, for some reason a person gets sick from a GM food, there is no way to trace the illness back to the source. By labeling “safe” products, citizens have the option of buying GM foods instead of unknowingly doing so. Lately, organic food labels have dominated supermarkets nationwide, allowing customers to willingly purchase healthier food. I feel that GM labels can have the same effect if made a mandatory practice by the government.
Sincerely,
Ashley Osbourne




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