Information in the age of genetically modified food
Department Of Management
Ideal Institute of Management and Technology, Delhi, India
ABSTRACT- As we all know that HEALTH IS WEALTH, so let’s start our race towards healthy food, as food is main component for health and if we know what we are eating then only we can remain healthy ,but the food which we are taking today is mostly genetically modified food , and we are not having information as in many countries labeling is not done, so it violates our right to have information ,for what we are eating and it is lack of transparency which might be worst problem of genetically modified food. It is human right to know what is harmful for body so that we reduce the intake of those products ,as lot of diseases are popping due to chemicals present in genetically modified food which are harmful for our body.
1. OBJECTIVE- To study the importance of information in age of genetically modified organism
Today with the increasing population, securing huge amount of food with cheap prices has been concern for everyone. On one hand shortage of food in country like India and on other hand public concern about health has led us to think on the innovation of GMO appropriateness. But we are living in the age of right to have freedom, The freedom of information act FOIA- which can be found in title 5 of US code section 552 was enacted in 1966 and provides t any person has the right to access to federal agency record or information. All agencies of US government are required to disclose records upon written request for them.( 1) .Earlier the ethics of food was only concerned with food security and with mal-distribution and distribution of food are measured against criteria of fair distribution ,but nowadays there is gap between consumer and producer increasing consumer alienation. Now a days consumer concern is towards ethical issues like a. fair labeling, b. branding, and c. transparent traceability system.(2).if we go to new York, Canada there is no labeling, which is hampering there right to information and with the lack of information they will not get to know what they are eating.
The source of all genetically modified food is genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms are plants, animals, or bacteria that have been genetically altered through the process of genetic modification. Transgenic food, genetically engineered food, and genetically modified food all refer to foods derived from genetically modified organisms. A genetically modified food is a food product which is or is made from a genetically altered organism. The most common sources of genetically modified foods are genetically modified soybeans, corn, and canola.
3.Meaning of genetically modified food-genetically modified foods are those whose DNA has been altered in a manner which does not occur naturally ,i.e introducing gene from different organism(8). In agriculture field crops are being made genetically modified so that they are more resistant to environmental stresses such as heat cold draught etc., less use of pesticides, more yields. For ex. Bacillus thurengenesis produces but toxins and this toxin has been cloned and used to produce insect resistant breeds of plant
The source of all genetically modified food is genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms are plants, animals, or bacteria that have been genetically altered through the process of genetic modification. Transgenic food, genetically engineered food, and genetically modified food all refer to foods derived from genetically modified organisms. A genetically modified food is a food product which is or is made from a genetically altered organism. The most common sources of genetically modified foods are genetically modified soybeans, corn, and canola
4. Research methodology- The descriptive research methodology has been used to collect the data. Secondary data has been collected from various published sources and websites.
5. History of genetically modified food
Genetic modified food is not very old concept it is hardly few decade old, year 1980 has been marked as the year of scientific discovery of transferring one DNA in to other organism, year 1983 first transgenic tobacco plant antibiotic resistant variety was created, then first genetically modified variety of cotton was tested in 1990,later on the research on this started speedening and after years leading company Monsanto bought herbicide immune soya-beans and further in 2000 the genetically modified food successful invention was done with nutrient and vitamin rich food. Now a days it has become a latest technology, According to data in 2004, 17 countries has used the genetically modified technology. In which 4 crops dominates, first being soya-bean counting for 60% and followed by GM maize 23% accompanied by11% GM cotton and 6% canola which are genetically modified, the figure clearly depicts the data.(3)
FIG- countries adopted bio-tech crops, showing area under bio-tech crops(3)
6. Benefits of transparency--if these products are safe then why it should not be labeled
1.The consumer feel that they have right to information, it can only be fulfilled by labeling GMO as consumer want to know what they are consuming and how safe it is for their health
2.It will not mislead consumers.
3. It will clarify the concept of being natural
4labelling will allow us to do research, so that solution can be found to problems (4)
if these products are safe then why it should not be labeled
7. Why companies don’t want to have transparencies
It is costly
It hurts farmer (5)
Third biggest fear factor of company is the genetically modified food is labeled, people would not be eating. This is the only reason that companies spend huge amount of 25 million dollar to stop labeling of genetically modified food (6)
8. GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD: LACK OF TRANSPARENCY-
In today’s age where there is fight going for food security ,genetically modified food has significant merits such as pest resistant, economical, high yield and increased value of nutrition. Few countries has been supporting genetically modified food as solution like united states, china, new York etc, reason increased population, urbanization, shortage of food, but few countries are not comfortable with genetically modified food like Europe , Japan etc .Surveys has showed that 90% of Americans want GMO to be labeled . on the basis of analysis of Weibo shows that lot of fear has been created due to crisis and communication misstep, due to which benefits of genetically modified food has been hidden and more hazards has come in to light, according to data since November 2011, 54percent Chinese sentiments are against genetically modified food major reason being lack of transparency, regulation and corporate interest, first scandal happened in 2011 when Chinese netizen came to know that more than 80% soya bean which is available in market is genetically modified and public started criticizing government for not ensuring food safety, but looking at the concern public, health ministry also disclaimed the use of GMO, though agriculture minister favours use of GMO, so GMO has been the subject for debate.
A study was carried by many scientist in china on weibo, which is China dialogue.net(among Chinese netizen) and twitter(excluding china) to see the sentiments of people about GMO, the following result came into light that people were not assured about safety of GMO and they wanted full disclosure of information,(7)
Fig- showing sentiments about GMO on twitter and Weibo(7)
when people in china were offered free sample of GM golden rice, they had furious thoughts that they all will be killed with unsafe GMO, by which we can conclude that this is the cost which we are paying due to lack of information, As we have studied china, country with largest population,run with mistrust and vicious cycle of misinformation, lack of transparencies has caused lot of problems to consumers as well as companies. This complication can’t alone be solved by media, but information is the only solution to this problem, which has to be provided by every producer, that what it contain, nutritional values and branding, labeling should be done.
1. Government should take strict action against those who does not provide full information regarding their products.
2 Those company which do not provide information should not be given licence to operate their bussiness.
3.Product without information should be banned ,so that people may know what is right for them.
1. Freedom of Information Act - Senior Editors: Susan Boriotti and Donna Dennis
2. Understanding Consumers of Food Products - Edited by Lynn Frewer, Hans Van Trip - Conclusion
7. 7cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/36851/1/foodsafetyENG.pdf 2
8. Food Genetically Modified - World Health Organization
About the Author:
Pooja Jain is UGC NET qualified assistant Professor in the Department of Management of IIMT, one of the renowned college of I.P
university Delhi. She got her master’s degree (MBA) from S.P.C.J, khandhari, Agra in 2001 and Science graduate from Agra College Agra. She keeps nearly ten years of experience in the field of management faculty. Worked as academic
counselor in IGNOU, SMU Govindam Business school and also with IMT
Ghaziabad for the course of MBA and BBA. She always wants to provide something new in the field of Management, Personality Development, Marketing, HR,human behavior and others etc.
Keywords- genetically modified food, labeling, transparency,freedom of information, ethical issues.
Disclosure: The Author is fully responsible for the contents of the above article.