Should GMOs feed the world? No.  I think that countries and its citizens have the right to chose what they eat, even if they have limited options.  We live in a capitalistic society that is based on supply and demand.  Sadly Americans have a blind demand because we are unaware that we are consuming a great deal of GM foods.  Yet for those countries that have decided that GM foods and crops are not something they support or want to introduce they have every right to not purchase them.  Ideally this will lead to the decrease in this product (because of less demand).  The problem is that GM crops are invasive and spread naturally throughout fields infecting natural crops.  From my understanding it is difficult to successfully plant natural seeds after the soil and environment have been infected by GM seeds.  So I question whether the demand in existing countries that use GM crops can actually decrease?  But I remain optimistic because we were able to develop this technology so shouldn’t we be able to maintain or work to redevelop the natural environment?
                This issue of GM foods addresses the larger issue of food and economics and food and international relations.  The fact that economics rule our system is uncomfortable but it should be accepted because that is how our society is formed.  What should not be accepted is when economic value and success overcome the value and importance of food.  In terms of GM foods I question whether the Western governments (particularly the US) actually want to feed the world and help developing countries or if big companies that control the government through state capture just want to expand their market.  Also in terms of international relations, it is understood that food is internationally traded and there is already a problem of standards of food quality.  GM foods introduce another layer to this problem by encouraging African nations to use GM seeds and foods to feed their citizens.  Just because Western countries have these resources and use GM foods does not mean that they should impose them on other countries.  Yet referring back to capitalism it is logical that they are because they want to make a profit, but they have no right to bitch if Africans reject GM foods.

 

                Marion Nestle’s article “Food politics in action: the White House vs. the FDA” uses president Obama’s demand of science based regulation to attack the weak labeling standards proposed by the FDA.  In theory Obama is leading a movement against regulation based on ideology of foods and consumerism toward one that is based on scientific fact.  I find it interesting that he is promoting science as the leading reason, but not transparency in the food industry.  He is not demanding that companies are open about the scientific methods of production or rising of food; he is just saying it should be based on science.  This is the topic of Nestle’s introduction, but it is unclear how these ideas directly connect to calorie labeling.

                The rest of the piece clearly explains that the FDA is developing legislation that will mandate restaurants to state the amount of calories in their products.  The problem is that when the original idea of calorie labeling was proposed in the health care bill it mandated restaurants including movie theaters must provide calorie counts on their menus.  Ironically the current bill being proposed does not require movie theaters and other entertainment industries to include calorie labels.  Moreover, restaurants are able to put ambiguous calorie ranges on their menus such as 200-800 calories.  In general these two aspects of the labeling legislation deviate from the values of science that Obama stated.  I would presume Obama does not wish to exclude the entertainment food industry from the scientific understandings and mandates of this part of the food world. 

                Overall I don’t think that Nestle’s article is very clear and straightforward but it addresses interesting points.  First of all I would argue against Obama’s value of science saying that science is based on current ideologies and understandings of our society and natural world.  So it isn’t possible to separate the two.  Furthermore science in the food industry can be helpful, but is that what consumers want?  Personally I would rather understand the process that my food went through and the methods of production more than how it is scientific.  As for her points about the FDA labeling legislation it is not surprising that a limited amount of the food service industry are being regulated because the government is afraid of the economic or political effects of complete regulation.  This is stupid and makes the government look weaker than excluded corporations, but that is an issue at the base of our system.

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