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GE Foods: To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question

            Imagine a perfectly red and ripe tomato, a grain plant that is a natural herbicide, or a food item containing every nutrient. This is all possible now because of genetic engineering. Genetically engineered (GE) foods make use of this new technology; they seem beneficial, however, scientists and activist groups protest the use of modified foods for health and environmental reasons; therefore the best approach to this controversy is to allow the production of genetically engineered yet test and label them.
             To realize the controversy behind genetically engineered foods, one must first understand the technology behind the modified foods. Basically, foods are genetically engineered by inserting DNA with the desired genes into the food, creating a new organism with more desirable traits. The DNA is cut with restriction enzymes to obtain the gene and then the gene is inserted into a plasmid, to form the DNA of the new organism. There are various methods to transfer the gene. One such method is the Agrobacterium method. "Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a soil microorganism that acts as a natural genetic engineer. It can insert a piece of its DNA into the chromosome of a plant cell" (Monsanto 1). For plants that won't work with this method, the particle gun is used. "In this method microscopic pellets of gold or tungsten are bathed in the DNA with the new trait. The pellets are fired from the gun into the plant cells. As the particles pass through the cell, some of the DNA is left behind. The DNA from the pellet mixes with the DNA of the cell, adding the new trait" (Monsanto 2). .
             Genetically engineered foods are all around us, yet many people don't realize it. One might be surprised at the number of common foods that are genetically modified. For example, "Frito-lay Fritos corn chips, Kellogg's corn flakes, General Mills Total corn flakes cereal, Quaker chewy granola bars, Ball Park franks, Duncan Hines cake mix, Ultra Slim Fast, Aunt Jemima pancake mix, McDonald's McVeggie burgers, and Jiffy Corn muffin mix" (Partial List 1) all contain ingredients that are genetically modified.

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