Food Additives & GMOs in America

Food Additives & GMOs in America

What is the definition of an additive? A substance added to another to improve its appearance, increase its nutritive value, etc.

What is the definition of a food additive? Any of a large variety of substances added to foods to prevent spoilage, improves appearance, enhance flavor or texture, or increase nutritional value. Most food additives must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

One form of a food additive has been notably recognized as genetically modified organisms, commonly known as GMOs. GMOs are organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques.

Some examples of the benefits of GMOs include:

Edible vaccines

–          Inexpensive and accessibility

–          Avoids risk of spreading infections from needles

Qualities of crops and safer food

–          Safer varieties of crops that could replace traditional varieties

Food security

–          Golden Rice: nutritionally enhanced plant created in 2000 that is popular in underdeveloped and low-income countries

–          Countries like Asia, Africa, and South America rely heavily on Golden Rice as the primary food staple

–          Golden Rice contributes to the solution in the vitamin A deficiency epidemic in these countries.

Some examples of the health risks of GMOs include:

Not a single human clinical trial has been published. Therefore, they haven’t been properly tested

–          If there are problems, consumers would probably never know because the cause wouldn’t be traceable & a lot of diseases take a long time develop

–          Unless GMOs cause acute symptoms with a unique signature, then the traceability would be easier


–          GM crops use a common ingredient called glyphosate, with pesticides

–          Glyphosate has been linked to increases in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Allergenic potential

–          Allergies are caused by new proteins forming or their interactions with usual proteins

–          Allergies develop when a person is exposed to a particular protein allergen repeatedly

–          Scientists can’t determine exact allergenicity because there doesn’t exist any reliable tests on GMOs

Social Differences

–          Many innovations are unreachable for developing countries

–          Genetically engineered seeds could cause food shortages, unemployment, resistant weeds, and the extinction of native cultures in developing countries

–          Labor costs would be decreased  by letting farmers use more chemicals, since 80% of commercial GM seeds are designed only to resist herbicides


So, how are the social ethics involved in GMO use? The ethical reasoning behind this could be due to the natural organisms’ intrinsic factor. Some people think of feeding livestock with GMOs is tampering with nature on both ends of the spectrum. Feeding livestock GMOs can cause a stress on the animal and that stress can be directly related to a number of health problems. Stress on animals can cause things like infertility and animals dying in large numbers.


Did you know that the labeling of GMOs in food is not mandatory in the U.S.? This becomes a problem because mixing GM crops with non-GM products seriously confuses consumers. Consumers have the right to know what they’re putting into their body and the bodies of their families and friends. The term “Consumer Sovereignty” refers to the information made available so people can make food choices based on their own values. This idea is becoming more and more popular because consumers want to be informed of what they’re eating and feel in control on their food choices. Nowadays, that’s really starting to become difficult with big food companies.