Ethics: Genetically Modified Food and Responsible Technology Essay

Submitted By randiwhitt
Words: 1450
Pages: 6

Genetically Modified Foods Highly Unethical

Ethics within a business is a topic in which many people tend to disregard. There can be many reasons supporting or not supporting the decisions that business firms or individuals make based on their actions either within the business or to someone else. Ethics can be defined as a “branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.” ("Dictionary.com"). These beliefs or morals can be passed down from family members, written in a code of ethics at work, or just adapted from life experiences. In many business cases, money or monetary gain can have a huge influence on people and businesses to do unethical things either in the workplace or in everyday life. Recently there has been a lot of talk about Genetically Modified Foods. “GM foods were made possible by a technology developed in the 1970s whereby genes from one species are forced into the DNA of other species. Genes produce proteins, which in turn can generate characteristics or traits.” (Institute of Responsible Technology, 2013). The traits that were supposed to follow the genetic modification of these plants were promised to produce, vitamin fortified grains, highly productive crops which would reduce world hunger, and vegetables that could grow almost anywhere in any climate. However the only traits that have been found in genetically modified plants like a rouge strain of GMO wheat “accidently” released by Monsanto is that the plants are resistant to herbicides and pesticide production. Back in May of 2013 a farmer in Oregon had noticed a few wheat plants that had sprouted almost weed-like in his 125-acre field. When he tried to spray Roundup a known weed killer, the weed like plants didn’t react to the spray like it was supposed to by dying, it instead kept growing. After taking the plants to the lab at Oregon State University it was discovered that “the USDA later confirmed that it was MON 71800, a strain of wheat created by Monsanto (MON), the $14 billion agricultural giant.” (Donahue, 2013) Monsanto had engineered this strain of wheat specifically to be unaffected by glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer, Roundup which Monsanto also manufactures. The ethical question in this situation is: Is it ethical to produce and feed these potentially hazardous Genetically modified plants to consumers everywhere?

With that question being asked by many people there have been many recent studies all showing the same things. Genetically modified plants and foods are bad and have shown serious health related problems. With that being said “the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS as long as their producers say they are. Thus, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations or labeling of GMOs. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency.” (Institute of Responsible Technology, 2013) the term GRAS means generally recognized as safe. With the FDA not requiring any safety evaluations or labeling and giving the producers of GMO’s free reign to keep the consumers uninformed about what is in there products is terrifying to many people. “Herbicide tolerant soy, corn, cotton, and canola plants are engineered with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of herbicides. This gives farmers more flexibility in weeding and gives the GM seed company lots more profit.” (Institute of Responsible Technology, 2013) This is such an advantage for Monsanto, who seems to have only his monetary gain in mind and not the safety of his consumers or the world around us. This isn’t the first time Monsanto has released a GM like this. In 2001 he was fined for releasing a genetically modified type of corn that was insect resistant but was only meant for animal consumption. With the overuse of herbicides on crops due to the genetic…