To the Editor:
This semester, I was asked to write a letter of advocacy for an issue that I stand behind. I believe that the production and possible labeling of genetically modified foods is an issue that affects each and every one of us, yet it does not seem to receive very much attention in today’s media. In my research, I have found that there are over 60 countries that have banned the use and production of genetically modified food. The United States is not one of them. An argument has been made for the identification of these foods in the United States in order to inform the public about the presence of GM foods. Awareness and labeling of genetically modified foods should be put in place in order to rightfully inform consumers. Ingredients in about 70 percent of the processed foods we come into contact with have been genetically engineered to elongate shelf life or improve resistance against environmental enemies. We must be careful not to overlook the drawbacks that this scientific manipulation may be causing in the environment and in the health of those consuming the food. A threat to the genetic diversity has arisen as humans have begun to utilize control over the process of gene recombination. Altered diversity would not be a reversible effect and the environment has not been afforded the chance to adjust to these biologically engineered organisms. Another unforeseen environmental effect of this resistance is an increase in chemical pollution in the environment as a result of more herbicide use. In response to these potential dangers, it is necessary for consumers to understand what GM foods are, where they come from, and how to make others aware of them. The most logical solution to this issue is mandating the labeling of these foods in our grocery stores. There are 61 countries that have created laws requiring the labeling of genetically modified food. The lack of research and solid facts regarding GM foods has led many countries to ban them completely. Noting a significant number of countries that have called for awareness about GM food, it is our turn to respond to this issue that effects the food we eat each day and follow suit. Until enough research is conducted to confirm that they are safe, GM foods should be identified in our grocery stores. I urge you to assist me in helping people to refuse to be part of the “giant experiment” and dig deeper to stand up for knowledge about our food.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
Gretchen Brandstetter, a sophomore at Wake Forest University