Enough About You- Alpacaqueen

Money seems to have a big role in our society; we can’t do much or get far if we don’t have any. Even when it is not seen physically, money is valuable in different ways. In today’s society faith must be held in the government and in the banking system that our money is being handled in the proper manner; if not, it would be necessary to hide money under our mattresses or around the house. What happens in the banks or how they take care of our money is unclear. I always thought money was simple; a material that is either present or absent—that’s it. However, being introduced to this assignment, the Yap Fei, US gold, French francs, Brazilian cruzeros, and debit accounts now seem similar. We don’t actually see our money being transferred. When paid, money is not given physically, we don’t receive a physical check, the money’s all directly transferred to our bank account, and it simply has to be trusted that we received more money.

Rebuttal- Alpacaqueen

A New Light On GMOs

 We live in a world where feats in science and technology are being made, and accepted, in a variety of fields on a daily basis, so it surprises me that such a large amount of people remain so opposed to food bioengineering. We allow the phone in our pocket to emit electromagnetic radiation against our body everyday, yet when we see our tomatoes are labeled GMO, all bets are off the table. Most of this resistance is due to the fact that we aren’t given enough information to make the correct choice. When the microwave first came out, many of our grandparents refused to get within 500 feet of them, let alone cook with them in their own home. Modified foods and their sources may sound unfamiliar and scary, but their creators aim to engineer food that provides health benefits, is naturally pest resistant, and end famine by creating greater yields with less space. The most common issues leaving people reluctant against biotech foods is that they are worse for your health and the environment than their organic counterparts, neither of which being true. 

As stated earlier, a majority of non-GMO bias simply comes from people’s lack of understanding on the subject. Evidence points to the fact that adults who are educated about genetically-modified foods (GMOs) not only accept their safety but consume them without hesitation. In fact, based on a 2018 Pew Research Poll, 65% of respondents who eat a fair amount of GMO food report that they have read a great deal on the subject and feel well-informed. Those who admit ignorance about GMOs, on the other hand, fear and avoid themAmong GMO-abstainers, many of whom admit to having “health concerns” about the products, a whopping 75% also admit they have read nothing about genetic modification or GMO foods. In another poll conducted by the New York Times, they asked people on Facebook about their opinion on gm foods, their results as follows:

Would you buy food with genetically modified ingredients if you knew they were in there?

Yes: 48

No: 429

Maybe: 19

Need More Information: 24

This survey revealed that 82.5% of people would not purchase foods if they knew they contained gm ingredients. Considering approximately three-fourths of foods in supermarkets are GMO, you may have a hard time getting around them, and have probably already purchased countless gm products without knowing so. Do not fear, however, this doesn’t mean you’ve killed the planet or will turn ill overnight.

Clearly, a large majority of people who reject biotech foods are so against them because they believe they pose a health risk to themselves or the animals consuming them. This is simply not the case. Thousands of studies have been done researching the long term effects of eating GMO versus organic foods, and many, if not all, of the results conclude that the subjects’ health were unaffected in either circumstance. As for animals, the same rings true. Researchers at the University of California looked at the health of over 100 billion animals after switching their diet from non-GMO to GMO and found no difference in their health. Many people believe that since non-organic foods are sprayed with pesticides, we’ll contract disease if we consume them. Also untrue. Believe it or not, organic foods also contain pesticides, and their consumption has no effect on human health. If anything, genetically modified foods are actually better for your health than organic. Many crops are being engineered to provide health benefits such as increased nutrient levels or aid in disease resistance. In one article by The Food Dialogues, they elaborate on this stating, “Today we have GMO soybean seeds that produce healthier soybean oils, eliminating trans fats and containing increased levels of Omega 3. Tomorrow we hope to have bananas in Uganda  that have up to six times as much Vitamin A.” Some scientists are even working to develop foods infused with antioxidants that could prevent cancer. If anything, we should be greeting biotech foods with open arms, not turning against them.

As for the environment, don’t place the devil horns on gm crops for this issue either. Contrary to popular belief, genetically modified foods are working to help the environment, not hurt it. GMOs require a much smaller amount of land to farm than organic, produce a greater yield on top of it and requiring much less water consumption. In one article by “GMOanswers” the piece explained, “Between 1996 and 2015, crop biotechnology was responsible for an additional 180.3 million tons of soybeans, 357.7 million tons of corn, 25.2 million tons of cotton lint and 10.6 million tons of canola, without having to bring more land into production. To produce the same amount of crops without GM technology, farmers would have needed to cultivate 48 million additional acres of land.” Many crops are even engineered to become drought resistance, not only saving water, but helping foods grow in countries where lack of rainfall posed as a critical issue.

 Now I know what you’re thinking, with the production of all that food must come thousands of pesticides killing the planet. You’d be mistaken. A great deal of gm crops are being engineered to already contain resistance to insects and diseases without the need of pesticide spray. Quinn Fucile in her article, “Is Genetically Modified Food Safe?” explains this in her statement, “One example is plants engineered to produce BT endotoxin, which is only harmful to insects and will only kill pests that try to feed on the crops. This protects other insects in the environment that may be useful, because farmers no longer have to spray and pesticide, it’s built into the plants.” Not only does this reduce harmful pesticide use that could otherwise damage surrounding land and rivers, but it also allows animal and insect biodiversity to remain abundant. The NonGMO Project even confirms, “More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.”

Hopefully I’ve been able to open the public eye, or at least one eye, to the countless benefits that genetically enhanced and biotech foods can bring to the table, and eliminated any prior misconceptions behind them. With all of these advantages that accompany these “new foods,” whether it concerns us or our environment, there is no reason they should be left in the dark any longer.

 

References:

Bittman, M. (2011, February 24). GMO Poll Results (and More). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from https://bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/gmo-poll-results-and-more/

Funk, C., & Kennedy, B. (2016, December 01). Public opinion about genetically modified foods and trust in scientists. Retrieved October 31, 2018, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/01/public-opinion-about-genetically-modified-foods-and-trust-in-scientists-connected-with-these-foods/

ModernAg. (2018, October 18). Searching for the Same Solution. Retrieved from https://modernag.org/innovation/gmo-solutions-benefit-environment/

Denialism, D. (2017, February 19). Five Ways GMOs Benefit The Environment – Debunking Denialism – Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@debunkingdenialism/five-ways-gmos-benefit-the-environment-c48eee7e2765

Manager, C. (2017, May 15). GMOs & The Environment. Retrieved from https://gmoanswers.com/gmos-environment

Haspel, T. (2014, October 27). The GMO debate: 5 things to stop arguing. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-gmo-debate-5-things-to-stop-arguing/2014/10/27/e82bbc10-5a3e-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html?utm_term=.0685b16218f7

GMO Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/

Fucile, Q. (2015, April 02). Is Genetically Modified Food Safe? Retrieved from http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/5299/20150402/is-genetically-modified-food-safe.htm

What Are the benefits of GMOs, Both Today and in the Future? (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from http://www.fooddialogues.com/article/benefits-gmos-today-future/

 

 

Robust Verbs- Alpacaqueen

Original:

There is a huge problem in Vancouver with heroin addicts committing crimes to support their habits. The “free heroin for addicts” program is doing everything they can to stop the addicts. The problem is that there is a large crime rate due to the addicts. It is obvious that addicts have a hard time getting through their day to day lives. Daily activities such as jobs, interactions, and relationships are hard to maintain because of the fact that they are using. By heroin users being addicted, they will do whatever they have to do to get their hands on the drug. The types of crimes committed are those of breaking and entering as well as stealing. There are no limits to where they will go to retrieve this drug so that they can feed their addiction. The problem with this program is that it won’t help to ween these addicts off using heroin. It is only trying to save the city from rising crime rates that they’re up to. By providing the drug, these addicts will be off the streets, which in turn will prevent them from committing minor street crimes. This will also keep the heroin users out of the hospital. It is pointless that the hospitals have to deal with people that want to use bad drugs or unsanitary needles and find themselves being unable to afford hospital bills and hard to cope without the drug. This program gives people free heroin in the cleanest way possible. This will in turn fix the city  but not the addiction that these people face.

 

Revised:

Heroin addicts in Vancouver are committing crimes to support their addictions. Consequentially, a large crime rate manifested. The “free heroine for addicts program” attempts to help this issue. Although they will not cure their addiction, a safe dose of heroin will be provided to addicts. Because of this, users will be deterred from committing felonies to obtain it and stop congesting hospitals with issues related to unsanitary needle use. With assurance that their addiction will be satisfied, addicts can perhaps accomplish activities, such as maintain healthy relationships and jobs, that they otherwise would be unable to perform.

Causal Argument- Alpacaqueen

I’d like to propose a simple task. Completely redefine the food labeling industry so that it is more adaptive and accepting of today’s genetically and technologically enhanced foods. We, as people, crave options. We crave truthfulness. We crave knowledge. Yet for some reason, supermarkets continue to display food in a very black and white fashion. You can choose organically labeled food, whose description can still be vague,  or non-organically labeled food, which could be anything from fresh produce that just fell short of the “organic” standards or a box of pop-tarts. With the hundreds of breakthroughs in food technology, there is no reason that there aren’t more options between this left or right side standard we’ve come to condone. The adoption of these “new foods” that have been genetically and/or technologically enhanced not only accomplish this task, but positively affect the producer, consumer, and the environment too.

As stated above, one major category that advancements in food biotechnology affect are the producer, or in this case, the farmers and researchers. In many ways, these new inventions and methods for farming are dramatically changing the game, and for the better. With the adoption of such technologies, farmers’ jobs become less time consuming and more productive. Instead of having to weed through thousands upon thousands of crops, many fruits and vegetables are being genetically modified to build up resistance to soils with toxins or poor fertility, saving farmers time and money. In a piece by Purdue University, the paper explains how crops are being developed that “utilize nitrogen or water more efficiently, which allows them to produce food and fiber with less applied fertilizer and irrigation – an advance that could not only reduce production costs, but could also improve water quality.” These enhanced crops would not only save farmers funds by conserving fertilizer use, but also improve the environment and water purity as a result of the decreased fertilizer use. Speaking of saving farmers money, the paper continues with the statement,

Abdalla et al. (2003) predict the full global adoption of biotech crops would result in income gains of $210 billion per year for farmers – and that some of the greatest gains are expected to occur in developing countries.

This is a substantial amount of savings. We aren’t talking a few tens of millions, we’re estimating $210 billion dollars PER YEAR. If more of the world were to adopt these biologically enhanced crops, it would reduce costs dramatically, not only for its producers in our own country, but also developing nations who struggle with coming up with the funds to sustain a sufficient yield.

Endorsement of these biotech crops and technology certainly have a positive effect on the consumers as well. Many companies are utilizing 3-D printing to produce food like never before. One company, Modern Meadow, has already used a type of bioprinting to form leather from taking a small portion of the product in its final state, forming samples of collagen from the animal, and using technology to assist the collagen in growing into a state of hide. CEO of Modern Meadow, Andras Forgacs and his team were able to form “skin models” of fully functioning organs such as livers and kidneys through 3-D biotech printing. Forgacs is working towards using this technology to create produce, which could completely revolutionize the meat industry. Even NASA is utilizing printing technology to produce foods, such as pizza, for astronauts to make during space exploration. Food biotechnology is being used to reduce health risks among humans as well. Many plants and vegetables are being engineered to give its consumers greater nutritional value and decreased disease risks. As author Theresa Phillips explains in her article, “5 Ways Food Biotechnology Has Changed the World,”  “…the (once lowly) soybean has been developed to produce more stearic acid, thus improving the heat stability of the oil, to match the properties of trans-hydrogenated fatty acids.” Reduction of these fatty acids prevent less risk in clogging the arteries. Or perhaps you’d prefer tomatoes that can be “bred to produce higher amounts of lycopene, a compound that has been linked to lower blood cholesterol levels ​and has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancers.” In developing nations that struggle with sourcing fresh water, engineers are introducing technologies to test its purity. Philips explains this as well in her article as it states, “Cryptosporidium parvum (Crypto), is a water-borne pathogen that produces spores, making it difficult to remove by boiling or chemical treatments.” Fortunately, scientists are currently working to introduce certain antibodies that help to detect these impurities.

It doesn’t stop there. Food biotechnology has a great effect on our environment as well. With so much of our planet’s land being used up more and more each day, one farm in London formed a new solution by producing crops from a farm built in abandoned underground tunnels, called a hydroponic farm. These types of farms grow food without soil and instead use a water solution packed with nutrients. Additionally, Exxon Mobil recently engineered a strain of algae that is able to produce massive amounts of oil. What does this mean for the environment? A new and promising (and sustainable) source of biofuel. As the article from Exxon Mobil explains, “Algae has other advantages over traditional biofuels because it can grow in salt water and thrive in harsh environmental conditions, therefore limiting stress on food and fresh water supplies.” While many jump to assume genetically engineered food and food technologies are set to destroy the planet, it may just be one of the last approaches in saving it.

The world of food biotechnology isn’t here to hurt us. It isn’t here to shove hundreds of toxic chemicals into our produce. It’s here to transform the food industry as we know it for the better, and keep up with the ever-evolving and ever-growing demands of the world, and positively reshape the needs of its producers, consumers, and environment.

 

References

Gilpin, L. (2014, May 13). 10 ways technology is changing our food. Retrieved from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ways-technology-is-changing-our-food/

Shontell, A. (2016, June 28). A Brooklyn startup that’s armed with $40 million is growing real leather in a lab without hurting a single animal. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/modern-meadow-lab-grown-leather-2016-6

Phillips, T. (2018, August 26). How Has Food Biotechnology Changed What We Eat? Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/food-biotechnology-375627

Chapter 4 Breakthroughs in Agricultural Biotechnology. (n.d.). Perdue University. doi:http://www.ctic.purdue.edu/media/users/lvollmer/pdf/biotech chapter 3.pdf

Breakthrough in algae biofuel research reported. (2017, June 20). Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2017-06-breakthrough-algae-biofuel.html?xid=PS_smithsonian

Causal- Alpacaqueen

I’d like to request some help professor. My hypothesis is on how elimination of organic foods and adoption of food biotechnology proves as beneficial to the producer, consumer, and environment. I’d like to use the w causes x, y, and z format. I know I’d like to focus on the cause and affect of food technology on the subjects listed above (producer, consumer, environment) and probably even the economy, but I’d like to request assistance on forming the structure of my causal argument. I worry that my causal will be very similar to my definition. I intend to find sources on how food technology helps the producer in a multitude of ways, such as how farmers could cultivate produce in a much quicker fashion without taking much time with the introduction of modified food. I also still need to acquire sources on how these “new foods” help the consumer, because genetically and technologically manufactured food can solve illness or provide convenience. Same going for environmental effects, I intend to find sources that display how these new foods prove beneficial to solving issues such as depleting fossil fuels or saving energy.

Open Strong- Alpacaqueen

1. It’s common knowledge that people often fear what they don’t know. In today’s society, especially, this seems to be a frequent phenomenon. This mindset is often the source of bias towards non-organic food. Any developments in the field of GMOs and food technology, no matter how beneficial they may be, are usually squandered by organizations or companies that refuse to set aside their outdated beliefs. If we are ever to move forward in the ever-evolving food industry, these beliefs are going to have to be set aside.

2. When shopping for produce in the supermarket, we are essentially faced with two options: organic or non-organic. Now although many instantly go for the organic food option, it isn’t necessarily the best choice. What if I told you that soon, there will be no organic food labeling? You may think it’s bizarre, but it is exactly what this industry needs. With all of the new genetic and technological advancements that are positively reshaping food growth and production, this age old industry needs to be broken out of its mold.

 

Definition Essay- Alpacaqueen

In this day in age, it’s shocking how exponentially more concerned people are becoming about the food they consume and what goes into their body. What’s ironically even more shocking is how little they really understand behind the labels. For years we’ve been faced with essentially two options when shopping for produce in the supermarket: organic or non-organic. While some may believe reaching for the organic product may be the best option, it’s not. Although many people swear by their strict organic diet, it seems that the public has been shielded from what else is out there. Currently hundreds of breakthroughs are being made in the field of food technology. While it may not be the precious “organic” label we’re used to, it’s a significantly better option. If “organic” foods are eliminated from supermarkets and more products alternatively produced through food biotechnology are adopted into stores, it will prove to benefit the producer, consumer and the environment.

One common misconception with organic food is that it is significantly healthier for humans. This is not proven to be true. In many instances, although organic food contains less pesticides than non-organic foods, the amount of pesticides have not proven to cause any difference in health among people. As explained by Max Whitmore in his article, “Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food”, one study done over a forty five year period concluded, “After reviewing 17 human studies and 223 studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in foods, researchers found little evidence pointing to superior health benefits in organic foods versus conventional foods.” This is just one of the many studies conducted proving in many instances, people are of equal health regardless of whether they eat organic/non-organic. Unfortunately, people have become so quick to judge things such as GMOs or anything that is not dubbed as organic that they completely disregard any other form of produce, no matter how great the benefits may be. In the article, “Organics versus GMO: Why the debate?,” Robert Wager discusses this.

According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 to 500,000 children in the developing world go blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency, half of whom die within a year. 250 million preschool children, mainly in urban slums, suffer from this deficiency. In all, 2-3 million people die from vitamin A deficiency-related diseases every year.

In response to this terrible epidemic, researchers produced a genetically modified crop, “golden rice”. This crop not only promised to prevent blindness and build up the immune system, but was readily available to ship to the children in need. Unfortunately, the environmental organization, Greenpeace, banned the distribution of this rice without looking into any information on the crop and simply stated they did so on account of the fact that it might cause “environmental and health risks.” It is wrongful that one-sided anti-GMO groups turn the other cheek in these situations when millions of people are falling victim to an illness that could easily be alleviated by a safely modified crop. For the same scientific reasoning they hold true behind their beloved organic crops is the same as its non-organic counterparts.

As a result of all this discrimination about food being enhanced through biotechnology, people fail to see the countless other options just waiting to be adopted into the food industry. When I say organic foods should be eliminated from stores across the nation, I don’t suggest we completely annihilate all sense of organic foods, but rather redefine and enhance the label itself and introduce people to the variety of other options out there. Allison Aubrey from her article, “Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You,” discusses how scientists are “measuring nutrient levels in all kinds of crops…such as super-nutritious microgreens. They’re trying to breed new varieties of crops that yield not a bigger harvest but a more nutrient-rich harvest.” She suggests that instead of labeling food as simply “organic” or “nonorganic,” perhaps food will be labeled based on the amount of nutrients they contain.

One company named Foodini is revolutionizing the food business after creating a machine that allows you to put in ingredients you choose and create your own food, such as chicken nuggets. In her article, “Six Technologies That Could Shake the Food World,” Annie Gasparro discusses this process.

Parents can let their children pick a shape like dinosaurs or stars, and the Foodini will print—and cook—chicken nuggets in that form. Machines also plans to have inputs for fat and calorie content that will adjust the size of the nuggets or cookies that come out.

This allows people to really customize and take control of their own food to suit their personal needs. Besides touching on human health, food technologies are also being put to use to benefit the environment. When any given food begins to make people sick at a large scale, every ounce of it is tossed away. Now researchers have discovered a new concept: edible barcodes. Later in the article Gasparro explains this in stating, “Applied to food, the bar codes are invisible, tasteless and safe to eat. Created by combining segments of seaweed DNA into a unique signature, the bar codes can be applied to a single food item like an apple or a silo full of wheat used in flour.” Because of this, tainted food can quickly and easily be traced back to the source of the issue, saving massive quantities of food that would otherwise be thrown away. In an article from Crop Life International, “5 Big Biotech Breakthroughs,” another way in which food is being preserved is through producing drought-resistant crops in areas that face long periods without rainfall. As the article explains, scientists “hope to plant the biotech maize in 2017, as a recent study from the International Food Policy Research Institute estimated drought-tolerant maize could raise yields by 17% in East Africa during severe droughts in 2050.” Not only will this safe alternative save the farmers from disposing of wasted dried crops, but also produce an even greater abundance than the years before.

These discoveries have, and continue to, prove as effective alternatives to keep up with the ever growing issues correlated to today’s food industry. As these problems begin to grow and evolve, the ways in which we safely modify our food should too. Hopefully in the future, there will be no clear cut “organic” labels, but rather an abundance of other healthy alternatives all brought to life through genetic and technological means. This process can only be expedited through the support of consumers and companies willing to set aside their old biases and take a look at the breakthroughs being made in the food technology industry.

 

References

Whitmore, M. (2017, October 03). Advantages & Disadvantages of Organic Foods. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/442122-advantages-disadvantages-of-organic-foods/

Wager, R., Popoff, M., & Moore, P. (2018, January 12). Organics versus GMO: Why the debate? Retrieved from https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/15/organics-versus-gmo-why-the-debate/

Aubrey, A., & Charles, D. (2012, September 04). Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food-may-not-be-healthier-for-you

Gasparro, A., & Newman, J. (2018, October 03). Six Technologies That Could Shake the Food World. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/six-technologies-that-could-shake-the-food-world-1538532480?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=4

5 Big Biotech Breakthroughs. (2015, February 5). Retrieved from https://croplife.org/news/5-big-biotech-breakthroughs/