Background Ethics = The study of the moral value of human conduct and the rules and principles that govern it 1. Moral values of a certain topic can vary between different people, this often leads to conflict. This has happened to the Genetically Modified (GM) foods debate. The definition of Genetically modified foods from the EC novel foods regulation is a food which is, or which is made from, a genetically modified organism containing genetic material or protein resulting from the modification 17. Society has to decide what is deemed to be right and the power to say where it is also wrong in a particular case. Ethical decisions involve weighing up risks against the benefits 1.
The morals of an individual rely on their feeling rather than facts 1 of a situation. Areas of discussion The views of the general public on GM foods The role of the media in the GM debate Scientific findings and conclusions about GM foods and companies which are pro-GM 1. The views of the general public on GM foods There has always been great opposition to the idea of Frankenstein foods 2 by the public. This is greatly due to the public not understanding what a GM crop consists of. The majority of people dont like the idea of GM crops because of many reasons.
Some people think that the biotechnology companies are in the business purely for money, Itll make the rich people a lot richer a disgraceful way to make money 3. Other people are not happy to eat them unless a lot more testing is done on them 4. Religious groups feel very strongly about GM foods, they want nature to run without human interference and also the feeling that you shouldnt mess with what God designed, humans arent the creator 5. Not all of the public hav the view that people do not want its[the department of environment] food 6, there are also some neutral feelings about GM foods that adopt the if you cant beat em, join em approach as they realize that they have probably been eating them for years 7, which is true because sources have shown that It is very likely that you have eaten food with at least traces of GM ingredients 8. Clearly the majority is against the widespread production and introduction of GM foods into our society. Friends of the earth, (bearing in mind their biased view on the GM debate) believe that It seems that the only people not convinced by the arguments against GM food are the government and the GM food industry themselves 9.
... that fascinates the public. Although they are ordinary people who must eat and breathe as the ... public's view and/or the government's role can escalate or create a situation for celebrities? There is something about famous people ... price climbed as high as $75.00 until the US Food and Drug Administration rejected the drug and demanded a raft ...
Aside from the hype from Biased environmental companies there are still genuine reasons for opposing GM foods. Two of the main fears of GM food technology are it will make people ill an dit will damage the earths fragile eco-system the scientific evidence on these two issues is inconclusive 10. Scientists are now able to produce crops that are herbicide tolerant insect resistant virus resistant 16. This is a benefit as it enables the farmer to spray herbicide over crops without the important crops being damaged.
The public have fears against this because it is thought that the herbicide-resistant crops will sterilise fields leaving them empty of plants for birds and insects to feed on 18. Although the public approve of GM sources to be used in medicine, as a survey shows that 74% of parents in England would let their child undergo gene therapy 1, the public still dont want to eat it. 2. The role of the media in the GM debate The public seem to be swayed by television, radio and newspaper articles about GM crops. Before spring 1999 there were very few media articles about GM 1. There now seems to be an article in every other newspaper about it.
... being said it does not seem ethically correct for fast food companies to target children as their special intended audience advertising ... and encourage healthy eating. The responsibility lies upon the government to authenticate the ads, the advertisers and marketers to ... ) Heavy Television Viewing and Childhood Obesity. Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 1 Issue 1 p. 45-54Vondebosch, H., Cleemput ...
The newspapers can now name and shame test site of GM crops. This could lead Greenpeace activists to destroy the sites like 26 July 1999 when 28 people made a dawn raid on a six-acre GM maize crop 11. Media can be to blame for the hype surrounding GM crops. This is because ethics rather than facts were emphasised as main points in many articles. The media plays a key role in every aspect of the GM debate.
Some papers perceive things in different ways. An example of this is a Telegraph headline reads Mr. Blair says I eat GM food and it is safe 1, whilst the mirror reports on the same story reads Fury as the Prime Monster says I eat Frankenstein food and it is safe 1. The government use the media to portray their messages across the nation.
These include reassurances that GM is good and to keep an open mind It[GM] has the potential to deliver real benefits to people. 12. 3. Scientific findings and conclusions about GM foods and companies that are pro-GM There are 3 government departments and 7 advisory committees involved the threat to birds was not picked up by any of them 13. The GM companies have backing from the government. The government are currently conducting trials on various farms around the countries.
This is good because we need more research, not less 14 and If we are not allowed to do experimental trials on GM crops, we shall never know the bad things or good things about them 14. The scientific findings of GM foods seem to be somewhat inconclusive. Scientists do not know all the answers and should not claim to. 14. Scientist have found no current evidence to suggest that the GM technologies used to produce food are inherently harmful 15. Analysts have come up with possible health effects towards humans these hazards include the inserted gene may produce an allergic reaction.
It may alter the way genes express themselves. Consumption may alter the balance of existing micro-organisms in the human gut 19. Summary There are two extreme views about GM crops. The positive view taken by the government and the GM companies. There is also the stronger negative view held by the media, the public and environmental awareness companies. Can the modified foods produce solutions to hunger, or are the GM companies just trying to make even more money We will never know.
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The main fact is that GM foods are not wanted in this society, but we dont have much choice as we are already eating the modified Soya and maize, this is not helped by poor labelling of products. My view remains fairly neutral, that there is no point fussing about the choice of our foods in the supermarkets and to think about others that are less fortunate than ourselves. The promises made by the super rich GM companies to try and combat this problem dont seem to be working so they should just let nature do its thing. We have survived until now without GM products so there is no great need for them. The public dont have a great choice on this subject, even if it is against their morals and principles. It is the people in power who make the decisions.
Ethics in biotechnology, 1. What is ethics, web).
A mirror newspaper headline adapted from Ethics in biotechnology web).
An interviewee who wished not to be named, BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8 th October 1999. 4).
Abbie Redland, BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8 th October 1999. 5).
Andrew Parker BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8 th October 1999. 6).
GM food protests, Thursday September 21 2000 the guardian newspaper 7).
George, BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8 th October 1999.
Am I eating GM foods BBC online-GM foods, 8 th October 1999. 9).
What can you do web 10).
Is GM food harmful BBC online-GM foods, 8 th October 1999. 11).
GM food protests Thursday September 21, 2000 the guardian newspaper 12).
Message from the ministers web – official government GM website. 13).
Government failure national campaigns/ briefings web 14).
They were wrong, Sunday September 24, 2000 the guardian newspaper. 15).
Paragraph 7, Health implications of genetically modified foods Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199916).
Paragraph 8, uses of Genetic modification Health implications of genetically modified foods Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199917).
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Paragraph 11, uses of Genetic modification Health implications of genetically modified foods Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199918).
Real food – web 19).
Paragraph 26, Health implications of genetically modified foods Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 1999.