Food for Thought: Taking a Stand Against Genetically Modified Organisms

Evan Folds

Ever heard of genetically modified organisms (GMO)? I dare say that the majority of the population eats them in abundance on a daily basis. Why? Well, for one the USDA does not require the labeling of “food” products that contain GMOs. Some history of how we got here may help.

In 1978 a company called “Genentech” inserted a human insulin gene into an E. Coli bacterium in order to create functional insulin, marking the first use of the technology called “recombinant DNA,” where genes from different organisms combine to form a hybrid molecule.

In 1981 Amanda Mohan Chakrabarty successfully inserted foreign genes into a Pseudomonas bacterium and created an organism capable of eating oil spills (hmmm, BP, take note!). This marked the first time a living organism had been altered genetically. The ethics of this procedure were actually upheld by the Supreme Court in what has become the wartershed moment in GMO history. From 1981 onward companies would be incentivized to change life in order to patent and make money of off living organisms.

And we’ve never looked back.

This is the legacy we deal with today. We are so entrenched in this world view that we cannot bring ourselves to recignize what we’re eating.

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