ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
BY GARY LEE
“Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it.” -Alton Brown.
Genetically modified (GM) foods have existed for centuries. Whether it be altering crops, cross-breeding or synthesizing new products, these foods have become a staple within an everyday diet. These modifications often hold great value as they allow manufacturers to improve on not only the quality and quantity of food, but also further evolve and adapt their products to the current needs of mankind.
The topic in question today is the morality around the amalgamation of pre-existing food.
According to a survey conducted by online publisher Scientific American, 49% of the U.S. believe GM food is unhealthy and only 5% perceive them as good alternatives to regular food.
Within the field of science, it is more important to fully understand the subject before making any claims. According to an online survey conducted by the charity Food Drive, only about 69% of U.S adults are confident in their understanding of GM products.
In short, it is the environment and the condition around food production that led to the creation of GM foods.
One of the most prominent environmental changes within the past century is global warming. Due to the progression of technology the Earth’s atmosphere has been recorded to be worse than it ever had been since the extinction of dinosaurs.
In light of the Earth’s gray future scientists and environmentalists alike have begun to develop new methods to replace, sustain and even improve preexisting foods that may disappear in the future. For example, unbeknownst to many, the cocoa trees, the main source of chocolate, are said to become extinct in 30 years. Due to cocoa trees’ unique living conditions, many of the trees will die due to the rapid temperature change caused by global warming. As temperature rises in infertile lands, there will be no place for cocoa to grow meaning no chocolate for future generations.
However, as stated by Food Network, scientists are using gene-altering tools that will allow cocoa trees to sustain harsher living conditions.
Furthermore, it is not just foods like chocolates that are affected, but other commodities too. For example, one of the most psychoactive drugs in the world, coffee, is facing the same issues as cocoas. As proclaimed by the online website World Economic Forum, 25% of coffee bean productions are contributed by bees.
In a similar case with cocoa trees, the ever-changing temperature of the globe is repelling the bees that pollinate genus Coffea (coffee trees bushes) due to higher temperatures. As the temperature of the atmosphere rises more and more bees with less heat tolerance will die out leaving the world without its number one pollinator.
Ultimately, it is not a matter of if extinction happens, but when it will happen if humanity does nothing to save these foods. The answers to sustaining these foods lie within genetic modification. If something is weak, endangered and dying out, it must adapt, change and overcome the challenges brought on by the rapid changes of this unpredictable world.
Like humans, the organisms surrounding them evolve alongside them. As the intelligence and knowledge of humankind grow their control over the environment do so too. It does not matter if people believe that GM products are unnatural and unhealthy, in the end, it is undeniable that genetic engineering of food will be the key to a prosperous and joyous future for humanity.