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Pesticides, Genetically Modified Organisms and Growing Your Own Food

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Culinary Arts has faced several issues throughout the industry whether it’s cross-contamination, food safety, having to call back food, etc. One main issue in the United States is using pesticides and genetic modification in farms to produce fruits and vegetables. Farmers have been using both modified organisms and pesticides for a while now and it has proven that it poses health risks for consumers and environmental issues.

A solution to this problem is that Americans should grow their own produce in their own backyards to avoid modified foods and chemicals found in pesticides. I propose that in order for Americans to live a healthier lifestyle with organic produce, Americans should learn to grow organic products in a community garden or even in their own backyards.

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What exactly are pesticides and GMO’s and why do farmers use them? “Pesticides are chemical or biological agents that are used to protect crops from insects, weeds, and infections. toxic organophosphate pesticides” (“Health Risks of Pesticides”). Farmers use these pesticides to keep insects away from damaging and eating crops and stopping weeds from growing out that can cause crops to die or to stop growing. Furthermore, spraying pesticides on produce cannot be rinsed off produce. Even if rinsing in hot water there would be pesticide residue on your fruits and vegetables without you even knowing. If you continue to ingest these pesticides found in produce, there will be negative health effects. Those exposed to pesticides like farmers, pregnant women and younger consumers with a weaker immune system will face those consequences. These health effects include “chronic, lower dose exposure is associated with respiratory problems, memory disorders, skin conditions, depression, miscarriage, birth defects, cancer and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease” (“Health Risks of Pesticides”).

Genetic engineering is “the process by which the genes of two different organisms are combined in ways that could not occur in nature” (Michaels 6). These organisms are created in a lab and were not made on their own, they were made in a lab from two very different species with no similar characteristics that were combined to make one new organism. “Crops are engineered to speed up reproductive maturity, increase yield, improve hardiness in changing weather conditions (such as drought or temperature extremes), improve nutritional quality, and enhance taste and appearance, or contain important and difficult-to-access vaccines for use in developing countries.” (Michaels 12). This may sound like the produce we eat are being kept safe from weather changes, diseases, and from insects, yet, they are not safe because we are not eating an organic organism that was grown on its own. What we are eating is an organism that didn’t exist until now. What brought this issue to my attention because not everyone may know this but the banana you see at the store is not a real banana. Crazy as it sounds but the original banana went extinct years ago due to a disease that killed every single one of them. The real bananas had black seeds in them. Today’s product is being made so that it is more pleasing to eat rather than having huge seeds that are not edible.

Also, scientists have proven the GM products like corn may cause tumors and organ damages. “Rats fed Monsanto’s GM corn NK603 and tiny amounts of Roundup herbicide over a two-year period — the longest ever feeding study involving a GM food — developed severe liver and kidney damage, disturbance to pituitary gland function, and hormonal disruption” (“What is Non-GMO”). Another case shows that “pigs fed GM corn and soy over 22.7 weeks suffered more severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a non-GMO diet. GM-fed females had on average a 25% heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females” (“What is Non-GMO”). Every individual will react different but what if your body reacts worse to genetically modified foods. You are putting yourself at risk when buying and eating non-organic produce at a grocery store.

My solution is that Americans should educate themselves on how to grow a garden so that it will help them not only save money but to improve their nutrition intake and avoid eating pesticide residue and modified foods that will later cost them their health. This will resolve the problem because if you grow your own food you will be aware and in control of the things you use to grow a healthy garden. However, this solution will have a negative effect on farmers and businesses because if Americans grow their own products they will lose money if they don’t sell. There are other advantages of growing a garden like: “easy access to fresh produce, improved taste due to freshness and lack of chemicals, save money, improved nutrition, avoid pesticide residue, reduce exposure to harmful chemicals” (Sima 2). Also, there are many websites online that will show step by step on how to start growing your garden.

The skill that I acquired in Culinary Arts is how to handle ready-to-eat foods and this pertains to my solution because other people can learn too. Learning how to handle ready-to-eat foods like produce will help me and others keep food safe like washing, avoiding contact with other foods that can cross-contaminate pathogens and how to cook them. Handling produces and growing your own produce will ensure you to have a healthier lifestyle and receive all the nutrients you need. I also learned how to determine whether produce is organic or not. If the produce is organic it should be labeled with an USDA Organic label. If not labeled organic that means that most of the ingredients or produce is not 100% made form organic ingredients.

In conclusion, Americans should grow their own fruits and vegetables so that they avoid eating harmful chemicals found in pesticide residue and modified foods to reduce health issues. When buying organic products with an organic label on it, meaning it’s made of more than 95% organic ingredients, it can cost a lot of money so consumers decide to buy the cheaper product that is not 100% organic. Growing your own food can save you lots of money and it will be a healthier option.

Works Cited

  • Health Risks of Pesticides in Food. depts.washington.edu/ceeh/downloads/FF_Pesticides.pdf.
  • Michaels, Pamela V. “Recombinant DNA Technology.” Biotechnology: In Context, edited by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner, Gale, 2012. Student Resources In Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/MOBQBK820757124/SUIC?u=j057910010&sid=SUIC&xid=871646dc.
  • Sima, Kathy. “10 Tips for Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden.” Dengarden, Dengarden, 16 Jan. 2018, dengarden.com/gardening/10-Tips-for-Growing-an-Organic-Vegetable-Garden.
  • “What Is Non-GMO? What Are Genetically Modified Foods?” The Organic & Non-GMO Report, non-gmoreport.com/what-is-non-gmo-what-are-genetically-modified-foods/.

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