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

Bibliography- Alpacaqueen

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

Background: This article discusses the many advantages and disadvantages of organic foods. It provides reasoning against going organic in discussing the increased cost of organic foods, the decrease in productivity per acre that comes with farming organically, the increase in time and skill that is required for organic farming with less output of produce, along with other points. A few of the main points it discusses is how organic foods require more land and produce a lower yield than other crops but are produced with no synthetic fertilizers.

How I used it: This article proved to be a good insight for organic food knowledge. It acts as a good baseline to demonstrate the many negative aspects of organic food. It provides points that I will be able to further expand upon with more research. Besides stating the cons that affect the environment, the economy, and the consumer today, it also gives insight on what may happen with the growing popularity of organic food. As organic food becomes more and more popular, although prices may decrease, farms will use a much greater deal of fossil fuels and rules will become more and more lenient on what is considered “organic”. It gave me good points I could use to persuade readers about the disadvantages of organic foods but also exposed me to the opposing side as well by providing information about the benefits of organic foods which I could later use for refutation. This article proved to be a good example of a non-bias article because it provided information from both sides of the argument.

2. 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/

Background: This article focuses on the advantages of adopting crop biotechnology and GMOs into the food markets as opposed to organic foods. A large portion of the article is spent questioning why anti-gmo activists are so opposed to such an idea. It provides reasoning that with the introduction of more GM foods and advancements of new genetic farming techniques, benefits will be presented in the realm of human health and the environment.

How I used it: This article provides a lot of backing on the advantages of focusing our energy into producing GMO foods and advancements in crop biotechnology. For example, GMO crops are being engineered that fix their own nitrogen. As a result of this, massive amounts of energy would be conserved by “eliminating the natural gas used in synthesizing ammonium nitrate and the fuel burned in trucks that deliver that fertilizer to farms.” Additionally, these genetically altered crops have the potential to save lives. In 1998, a GMO, golden rice, was made in response to a vitamin A deficiency causing hundreds of thousands of children to go blind in developing countries. Although this rice was made to reverse that, the environmental organization Greenpeace denied its distribution based on the claim it may pose “environmental and health risks”. As the author mentions, there is no way that the risk could be more than the one these thousands of children are facing.

3. 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

Background: This article discusses how there have been no studies that have proven any real health benefits in eating organic versus non-organic. The article suggests that organic food may be better in other ways, but it all comes down to what the farmers are being paid and how much the consumers are willing to pay.

How I used it: Essentially, this article showed me how consumers are paying extra for organics just for the name, or the idea that its healthier. The article pointed to many studies in which no real difference in health was found between eating organic versus non-organic foods. Although the author claims that organic foods are better in different aspects, like using compost instead of synthetic fertilizer to grow the crops, it’s been suggested that the compost, containing animal manure, is far more likely to lead to sickness that crops treated with the synthetic fertilizer. Instead of “organic” labeling, it is suggested that produce will be measured and described based on its levels of vitamins or protein.

  1. 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

Background: This article discusses the differences in pesticide amounts and use in organic and non-organic foods. It goes on to discuss how it may affect our health or that of farmers.

How I used it: This article provided me with a lot of information on how organic versus non-organic food affects human health. It made it clear that, although organic foods contain lower levels of pesticides in them than non-organic, the pesticide levels very rarely have any negative effect on a person’s health. The only two extreme terms would be if two toxic residues crossed, which the EPA has yet to test for every combination of chemicals, or if farmers were exposed to these chemicals very heavily over a long period of time, which they aren’t. Residues in these pesticides are found in very low levels when farming.

  1. 5 Big Biotech Breakthroughs. (2015, February 5). Retrieved from https://croplife.org/news/5-big-biotech-breakthroughs/

Background: This article discusses the differences in pesticide amounts and use in organic and non-organic foods. It goes on to discuss how it may affect our health or that of farmers.

How I used it: This article showed me a grand scale of what going organic is really costing humanity as a whole. Because of the strict methods of farming organically, much less is produced per acre of land than that of non-organic food. As the article mentions, “to produce the amount of food America does today, but organically, would require increasing its farmland by the size of almost two United Kingdoms.” Not only this, but the piece goes on to mention how some of the pesticides such as copper sulfate used in organic foods can still be linked to things such as liver disease in consumers and leukemia in farmers who handle such pesticides. The article adds that organic farming comes with a price tag- and a very big one at that. Essentially, it states, “If all of the United States were to go organic, the cost would likely be around $200 billion annually” just from lack of productivity. This does not even take the additional fees into account such as the higher price required to farm organically or the amount of land required.

  1. 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/

Background: This article discusses the many ways in which technology is playing a role in food production and transportation. It focused on developments made in the field of technology to do things such as reduce food waste, track droughts, and digitally print food.

How I used it: This article exposed me to a variety of different ways in which the food industry is being propelled forward as a result of new technology. It provided information on how even social media is playing a role in reducing food waste by forming apps for restaurants to post listings of leftover food at a reduced price. It also discussed a technology that has been around for a while but still proves effective, stating how GPS tracking helps farmers observe soil levels and determine weather patterns to better prepare the crops. Although this wasn’t directly related to my paper concerning technology that produces food, it still provided an abundance of information.

  1. 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

Background: This article is based off of a company who is growing leather in a lab without harming any animals. It grows leather using skin cells that produce collagen, which over the course of a few weeks turns into leather.

How I used it: This article showed me how 3D food printing could play a massive role in the future if food technology. The company stated how it is looking towards developing a way to print meatless meat, which would not only reduce carbon emissions but open a whole new door for vegetarians and the meat industry. This provided me with a great example of how food technology is working towards aiding the environment and decreased animal slaughter.

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

Background: This article gave a lot of insight on the different ways in which biotech foods are solving a variety of issues in the world. It focused on biotech’s roles in aiding the environment, human health, and reducing waste.

How I used it: This article provided me with a few points I was able to address that demonstrate how biotech foods are here to help. It displayed how scientists are modifying crops to have increased nutritional value, such as tomatoes made to have high levels of lycopene, which could help lower cholesterol levels, or how vegetable oils are being modified to contain less fatty acids that clog arteries.

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

Background: This article discussed an abundance of ways in which GMOs are actually coming to the aid of the environment. It emphasizes how gmo foods require less land than organic foods and produce a greater yield. It provided the astonishing statistic that, 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.”

How I used it: This article came to my benefit when discussing how GMO foods help the environment. Because GMO foods require less land and produce a greater yield, a variety of benefits come along with it such as reduced tractor carbon emissions and conserving water and pesticides.

10. 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

Background: This article debunked a few of the major misconceptions around GMOs. It focuses on areas such as GMOs’ affect on health, their safety, who they affect, and people’s premises for being for/against GMOs.

How I used it: This article gave me a better understanding how unlikely it is that GMOs may pose as a threat to human health. Even after one study looked at the health data of over 100 billion found no difference in the animals’ health after switching from non-GMO to GMO feed. It also discusses the argument that GMOs only benefit big agriculture businesses, which is proven to be very untrue considering GMOs are being made to help the human population in general from providing greater health benefits and environment-friendly techniques.

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

Background: This brief piece comes from the Non-Gmo Project’s website. It discusses what a GMO is, its safety, and impact on the environment. It additionally addresses the countries in which GMOs are labeled and some of their major impacts.

How I used it: This source proved to be a good reference of some of the negative effects of GMOs which I could later try to refute in my refutation essay. Some of the major points it discussed is how many GMOs have been modified to resist herbicides, causing an increase in herbicide spraying or how some crops are responsible for creating bugs that can now only be killed by very strong chemicals. It showed a new side to GMOs that I was not originally exposed to.

12. 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/

Background: In this article, it discusses the benefits of GMOs for both the producers and consumers, which additionally include benefits to the environment and the future of GMOs. Some of these benefits include decreased water use, crop drought and disease resistance, and enhanced nutrients.

How I used it: This article showed me how GMOs can be beneficial in a variety of areas, for both now and the future. It allowed me to better understand its benefits in these areas, such as produce being engineered to resist bruising and browning, which could also reduce a great amount of food waste. It even gave an insight to the future behind GMOs, as it even discussed how scientists are looking to produce a hypoallergenic peanut, which could be the start of a new palette for restricted eaters.

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

Background: In this article, it addresses the many ways in which GMOs are helping the environment. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping crops immune from disease, and helping those in developing nations

How I used it: This article exposed me to some environmental benefits of GMOs that I had not previously heard of. One major point was how GMOs are helping more than just Americans. In South Africa, GM corn was the source of increased yields, income, and eliminated the need for labor intensive exercises.

14. 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

Background: This article discusses the safety and benefits behind GM foods. It claims how GMOs are time and time again proven safe for human consumption, and would most likely only have a negative affect on our health if food somehow produced a protein that was toxic to humans.

How I used it: One particular thing I found interesting that this article showed me is GMOs impact on biodiversity. This was discussed in the article after it claimed that some crops are being engineered so that they only kill bugs and insects that try to actively feed on the crop and protecting other species since the crops no longer have to be sprayed with pesticides since its built into their genes.

  1. 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

Background: In this article, it discusses different biotech foods that are being developed to reduce food waste or machines that allow you 3D print food to your exact taste. This would allow people to take control of their diet like never before and make foods with the exact measurements and ingredients that they crave.

How I used it: This article exposed me to new technologies being created regarded the food industry that I had never heard of before. One subject that really drew in my attention was how an algae grown in the small pools in deserts could be a new source for food growth. This land that has been unused for years can now be put to use to grow this algae, which is rich in nutrients and being incorporated in a variety of foods.

 

Rebuttal- Alpacaqueen

I have yet to wrap my head around why such an immense amount of people still remain so opposed to food bioengineering. We live in a world where feats in science and technology are being made, an accepted, in a variety of fields on a daily basis, so why does it have to stop at food? Humans allow the phone in their pocket to emit electromagnetic radiation against their body everyday, yet when they see their tomatoes are labeled GMO, all bets are off the table. Most of this disapproval is simply from ignorance. I’m sure when the microwave first came out, many people refused to get within 500 feet of them, let alone allow one to heat foods in their own home. Modified foods and their sources may sound unfamiliar and scary, but I assure you the intentions behind their creators are benevolent. 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. Luckily, neither of these misconceptions are true.

As stated earlier, a majority of non-GMO bais simply comes from people’s lack of understanding on the subject. A recent set of polls conducted from May 10th to June 6th 2018 from the Pew Research Center showed a good example of this. In the poll, it showed that 51% of Americans admitted that most or some of the food they eat contain GMOs, while the remaining half of subjects claimed that “not to much” or “none at all” of the food they eat contain GMOs. Among these results, the poll revealed that 65% of those that said they eat a good amount of GMOs have read a lot about genetically modified foods, while a whopping 75% of people who claimed they eat little to no GMOs admit they have read nothing about these foods. You would think these results would be the other way around if modified organisms were as terrible as some perceive them to be. Instead, the poll revealed that most of the people who are consuming GMOs have gathered a lot of information on them, while 75% of the people who stay away from these foods admitted to reading absolutely nothing about them. 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. 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 the gm foods. This is simply not the case. Thousands of studies have been done studying 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 cancer or 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 and produce a greater yield on top of it. 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.” 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 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.

 

Reflective- Alpacaqueen

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

After only having experienced high school composition courses prior to this course, this class was radically different. At the beginning of the semester I told Professor Hodges that my goal in this class was to not only be a better writer but a better thinker. I felt as though each assignment had purpose behind it which encouraged me to take the time to explore a variety of sources and revise my work. In particular, my definition essay was one piece that I not only revised after discussions with Professor Hodges, but allowed me to discover the thesis in which I wanted to research for my final paper. With the help of Professor, he not only gave me consistent feedback when I needed it, but guided me to sources and ideas that played a big role in my essay. What I originally had intended as a piece on why organic food is bad turned into a paper on how more diverse food biotechnology sources should be adopted instead.

https://counterintuitivefa18.com/2018/11/29/definition-rewrite-alpacaqueen/

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

I believe my rebuttal essay most accurately demonstrates my knowledge of this core value. It is one thing to read and gather information from a variety of sources, but I’ve realized it takes a real writer to take that information and craft it into a well developed piece of writing that incorporates both sides of the argument. In my rebuttal essay, I learned to use sources that supported my claim to boost the credibility of my arguments while also utilizing sources that offered opposing views to then refute, making my thesis even stronger. When reading my sources, I’ve become able to use a keener eye when picking out which information will be of greatest use and how I can combine different claims into one coherent argument.

https://counterintuitivefa18.com/2018/10/31/rebuttal-alpacaqueen/

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

One example in which I placed a lot of emphasis on rhetorical analysis was the Visual Rhetoric assignment. This task opened my eyes to a new method in observing a piece of work. I realized that rhetoric does not solely come from text, it can be found abundantly in even a thirty second infomercial. This assignment taught me to look deeper than ever before in the purpose and methodology behind the commercial, from actor’s behaviors and emotions, to camera angles, to minute details in the distance, everything is done with purpose. This assignment taught me to place more detail into my own work and pay closer attention behind the intentions of any piece of rhetoric.

https://counterintuitivefa18.com/2018/10/09/visual-rhetoric-alpacaqueen/

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

In many of the assignments I’ve completed throughout this course, if not all of them, the overall goal of the work was to not only regurgitate the information I’ve collected on a subject but rather take that information and then apply my own representation of its significance. From the beginning we were taught to “summarize with purpose”, even when recording our weekly class notes. I think that the Stone Money essay most fittingly represents this concept. In this assignment, I examined a variety of sources that discussed the abstract concept of money. Using this information, I synthesized the information and crafted my own interpretations of the meaning behind how we value currency.

https://counterintuitivefa18.com/2018/09/23/stone-money-alpacaqueen/

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

I feel as though my annotated bibliography is the best representation of my understanding of this core value. Through this process I learned how to correctly cite each of my sources, both on their own and as in-text citations and continue to practice academic integrity. In my bibliography I was able to collectively compile fifteen of my most useful sources and label them with a description of the overall background of the source along with how I used it. This helped me convey the information in my bibliography and research paper in the correct manner, without misrepresenting or plagiarizing the material. My sources came from a variety of websites and journals. Whether it was an opinion piece on the disadvantages of organic foods or an public poll on GMOs from the New York Times, all sources deserve to receive the proper credit.

https://counterintuitivefa18.com/2018/12/02/bibliography-alpacaqueen/

Research Essay- Alpacaqueen

A New Light On GMOs

In this day in age, it’s ironic how concerned people are becoming about the food they consume despite how little they actually know about it. In Claire Morris’ article, “Public Views on GMOs: deconstructing the myths,” it even states, “70% of the population thinks that ordinary tomatoes do not contain genes, whereas genetically engineered tomatoes do.” If that quote doesn’t speak for itself concerning this epidemic than I don’t know what does. For years we’ve been faced with essentially two options when shopping for produce in the supermarket: organic or non-organic. 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  society begins to adopt this new mindset and supermarkets incorporate more products alternatively produced through food technology into stores, it will prove to benefit the producer, consumer and the environment.

One of the greatest difficulties in defining a term such as “organic” is that it has become a very loose, broad term. So loose, in fact, that the FDA doesn’t even regulate the term “organic” in food labels. This is instead placed in the hands of the USDA, and foods deemed organic still must comply with the standards of both the FDA and the USDA, which essentially state in the USDA’s website, “Organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substance.” Although these requirements may seem promising, there are a lot of ways in which these organic standards aren’t as promising as they seem.

The term “non-organic” can be just as vague. As far as we’re concerned, “non-organic” could be anything from an organic carrot that just missed the mark for being labeled organic to a box of poptarts. There are so many ways in which produce is being engineered in so many different ways, so theres is no reason the labels shouldn’t keep up too.

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 or 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 these possible benefits. 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 it and simply stated it was on account of the fact that it might cause “environmental and health risks.” It is wrongful that one-sided anti GMO groups turn a blind eye to these situations when millions of people are falling victim to an illness that could be alleviated by a safely modified crop. It often seems as if organic activists cherry-pick the science behind their pro-organic reasoning, while ignoring the wealth of science that supports genetically modified organisms.

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 by the food industry. When I say organic foods should be eliminated from stores across the nation, I don’t want to completely annihilate all sense of organic foods, but rather modify and enhance the label itself and introduce people to the variety of new, exciting and better 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 classified by the amount of nutrients they contain. For example, one company named Foodini is revolutionizing the food business by creating a machine that allows you to put in ingredients you pick 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 plan 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 take control of and customize their own food to suit their 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 once of it is tossed away. Now, researchers have discovered a new concept: edible barcodes. Later in the article Gasparro explains this 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,” one of the ways 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 produce an even greater abundance than ever before.

These breakthroughs 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 to. 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 industries willing to set aside their old biases and take a look at the breakthroughs being made in the food technology industry.

As mentioned previously, 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.” 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.

Food printing technology is even being accepted by specialty consumers with great purpose. NASA is utilizing printing technology to produce foods, such as pizza, for astronauts to make during space exploration.

Crop 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.

These new foods are fighting to take down more illnesses than one. We’d all prefer tomatoes that can be “bred to produce higher amounts of lycopene”, a compound which could in turn prevent things such as high cholesterol, heart attacks, and even some types of cancer.

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.

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. 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.

Although many believe with the production of all that food must come thousands of pesticides killing the planet, it simply isn’t true. Many believe that GMOs simply aren’t worth all the use of herbicides, as the NonGMO Project objects “More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteenfold since GMOs were first introduced.” However, Brooke Borel explains in her article “The Pros and Cons of Herbicide-Tolerant GMOs” how with this Roundup system, “farmers could stop tilling, which prevented the associated environmental pitfalls.” Tilling actually causes a great deal of harm to the environment in many ways, from polluting waterways to killing nearby plants and animals. Borel continues in stating, “Glyphosate also has a low toxicity—lower than that of caffeine. ‘It’s probably one of the safest herbicides in terms of environment and human health,’ says Keith Solomon, an environmental toxicologist and pesticide toxicology expert at the University of Guelph in Ontario.”

Additionally, 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.

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:

Organic Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-standards

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (2017, December 27). Labeling & Nutrition – Organic on Food Labels. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ucm473870.htm

Marris, C. (2001, July 01). Public views on GMOs: Deconstructing the myths. Retrieved from http://embor.embopress.org/content/2/7/545?casa_token=3rhU2i8A8nYAAAAA:52mVUK6U4UVFd7OYTgWEUTgTTffMTZ3XJW2mknVG5n0o5wxjJPqDADnDR09SiiLMTNMtni2ZZex3t84f8xIh1A#ref-7

Organic Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-standards

Marris, C. (2001, July 01). Public views on GMOs: Deconstructing the myths. Retrieved from http://embor.embopress.org/content/2/7/545?casa_token=3rhU2i8A8nYAAAAA:52mVUK6U4UVFd7OYTgWEUTgTTffMTZ3XJW2mknVG5n0o5wxjJPqDADnDR09SiiLMTNMtni2ZZex3t84f8xIh1A#ref-7

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/

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

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/

Borel, B. (2014, July 21). The Pros and Cons of Herbicide-Tolerant GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/blog-network/our-modern-plagues/pros-and-cons-herbicide-tolerant-gmos

Fishel, F., Ferrell, J., & MacDonald, G. (2016, March 11). Herbicides: How Toxic Are They? Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi170

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/

Rebuttal Rewrite- Alpacaqueen

The Truth Behind 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. 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.

 Although many believe with the production of all that food must come thousands of pesticides killing the planet, it simply isn’t true. Many believe that GMOs simply aren’t worth all the use of herbicides, as the NonGMO Project objects “More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteenfold since GMOs were first introduced.” However, Brooke Borel explains in her article “The Pros and Cons of Herbicide-Tolerant GMOs” how with this Roundup system, “farmers could stop tilling, which prevented the associated environmental pitfalls.” Tilling actually causes a great deal of harm to the environment in many ways, from polluting waterways to killing nearby plants and animals. Borel continues in stating, “Glyphosate also has a low toxicity—lower than that of caffeine. ‘It’s probably one of the safest herbicides in terms of environment and human health,’ says Keith Solomon, an environmental toxicologist and pesticide toxicology expert at the University of Guelph in Ontario.”

Additionally, 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. 

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/

Borel, B. (2014, July 21). The Pros and Cons of Herbicide-Tolerant GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/blog-network/our-modern-plagues/pros-and-cons-herbicide-tolerant-gmos

Fishel, F., Ferrell, J., & MacDonald, G. (2016, March 11). Herbicides: How Toxic Are They? Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi170

 

 

Causal Argument Rewrite- 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.” 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.

Food printing technology is even being accepted by specialty consumers with great purpose. NASA is utilizing printing technology to produce foods, such as pizza, for astronauts to make during space exploration.

Crop 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.

These new foods are fighting to take down more illnesses than one. We’d all prefer tomatoes that can be “bred to produce higher amounts of lycopene”, a compound which could in turn prevent things such as high cholesterol, heart attacks, and even some types of cancer.

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