Toxic Tacos? The Case of Genetically Modified Foods

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Issues This case is about the usage of genetically modified foods and up till today, this problem is continuing. It was stated that Taco Bell was accused of using StarLink corn (a type of genetically modified corn) in their taco shells. The StarLink had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it is safe for animal but not human consumption. From the time when this case happens, the public started to be aware of the possible dangers of genetically modified foods.

Other than that, the prices of corn start to decline. This case had generated debates about genetically modified foods.

There are two groups that shares different views about genetically modified food. One of the groups is the proponents of genetically modified food. This group believes that genetically modified food is not harmful and thinks that it helps to feed the hungry world. On the opposite are the anti-GM foods. Basically, this group deem GM food as a hazard and harmful to humankind and environment.

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Ethical Issues Technology has become more as more advanced as the time passes and technology are slowly playing a very important role in people’s life. However, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of using technology.

One important issue that arises with the use of technology is ethical issues. The management’s goal of each company should attempt to keep away from immoral as well as amoral practices. They should instead adopt a moral management practice. The aims of the management is suppose to be doing business in an ethical manner; they should only do what is right and fair, and avoid causing harm to others.

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In this case, Taco Bell was accused by the Genetically Engineered Food Alert Coalition of using StarLink genetically modified corn in taco shells. This clearly shows that Taco Bell was being immoral or amoral instead of being moral.

It can be concluded that Taco Bell may intentionally do wrong; Taco Bell may know that the corn are genetically modified corn but insist on using it. Otherwise, it can be that Taco Bell does not consider the ethical dimension of decision making; meaning that Taco Bell uses the genetically modified corn without realizing that it will have a negative impact on their consumers. It is ascertain that Taco Bell did not adopt a moral approach. It is because they did not conform to a high level of ethical behavior nor did they conform to professional standards.

If they did, Taco Bell will examine the corn before it is used; they should search out if it is possible to cause harm upon others. There are ethical issues in the area of technology. One of the key issues is technological determinism. Technological determinism indicates that what can be developed will be developed. Those people that work with technology are driven to push the boundary of technology development without the thinking about the ethical issues. In this case, Taco Bell had made use of technology in their business without thinking about the ethical factors.

They made use of StarLink genetically modified corn to make the corn resistant to pests. Taco Bell us genetically modified corn in their product without thinking about the side effects that it will have on human health. They are being unethical as although the genetically modified corn contain a foreign protein that is probably safe for human consumption, it has some of the chemical characteristics of a human allergen which can cause anything from a mild allergic reaction to a fatal case of shock. Other than that, there is another ethical issue that has got to do with technology. The problem of ethical lag is shown in this case.

The speed at which technology moves is very fast up till a point whereby it exceeds ethical development. Taco Bell is making use of the technology and using the genetically modified corn in their product (taco shells) without considering the fact that genetically modified food may cause adverse health effects. It shows clearly that no effort is shown in verifying that the corn they uses will not cause any harm to the consumers or will not trigger allergies or disease in humans. Pro-GM The proponents for genetically modified foods believe that genetically modified foods bring more benefits than harm. They insist that the risks of genetically modified food should only be judge when scientific consensus had been reached.

The proponents of genetically foods believe that genetically modified food will be able to food a hungry world by multiplying per-acre yields. Besides that, they said that genetically modified food will reduce the need of herbicides and pesticides. Anti-GM The detractors of genetically modified food disagree with what proponents of genetically modified foods. They strongly believe that genetically modified foods are dangerous and toxic. It was argued that the research was limited in both space and time to reach a conclusion.

Therefore, they persist non-toxicity cannot be concluded. Pro-GM or Anti-GM? Both the pro-GM and anti-GM has their own way of thinking. In order to determine which group is correct, it can be verified by the principles of right, principles of fairness and justice as well as the utilitarianism. The principle of utilitarianism says that one should always act so as to produce the greatest ratio of good to evil for everyone. It makes the decision maker to think about the general welfare before deciding on what to do. The decision maker will make decision that has the greatest good for the greatest number.

Hence, based on the utilitarianism principle, anti-GM is morally correct and pro-GM is wrong. The anti-GM thinks for the general public or the all the consumers, wildlife and environment which forms the majority. They are ethical because they believe that genetically modified foods are potentially harmful and they do not support the using of genetically modified food. On the other hand, the pro-GM only thinks about the benefits of having genetically modified food, but never think of how it will affect the consumers, wildlife and environment which is the majority. The principle of right is unlike the principle of utilitarianism.

It is based on the rights one is suppose to have based on the moral reasoning. According to the principle of right, anti-GM would be the group that is right and the pro-GM would be the group that is wrong. The reason behind this is because the pro-GM knows that there may be at least a slight probability that the genetically modified food may cause adverse effects on human health, but they still support it. They should allow more research be carried out before support genetically modified foods. This way, it shows that they are portraying more moral sense and it shows that they have a higher level of ethical behavior.

The principle of justice which is also known as the fairness principle says that there must be a fair treatment of each person. There are several kinds of justice. One of it is the distributive justice where they must be a fair share of burdens and benefits. Based on the procedural justice; which is about fair decision making procedures, practices or agreements, both the pro-GM and anti-GM is correct. It is because there is little prove that genetically modified food is hazardous to the human and there is no actual reports regarding genetically modified food posing harm to the human health.

Besides that, there is contrasting scientific arguments for both groups. Thus, it cannot be concluded that one of the group is right whereby the other is wrong because one group can only be proven wrong until there is sufficient evidence to prove that the particular group is right. Other than that the principles mentioned above, the ethical test approach can also be used to determine whether the pro-GM or the anti-GM is correct. One of the tests is the test is making something public. This test can also be known as the disclosure rule.

It is that when you are going to carry out something, is it all right to make known to the public? Once it is make know to the public, can the public accepts it? In this test, anti-GM would be correct and pro-GM would be wrong. The reason behind this is because if you disclose that you are using genetically modified food, people may not be able to accept it especially when the world in moving towards a more health-conscious society. Conversely, if you make known to the public that the product you sell is free of genetically modified food, more people will purchase it.

Since, it is not comfortable to let the public know this news, it is better to not support genetically modified food. The test of the purified idea is also one of the tests. This test is to talk to a person that had authority, and the actions or ideas that one have will be purified; which also means that it is made right. In this test, both the pro-GM as well as the anti-GM is neither wrong nor right. They should look for scientists and let them carried out researches to determine if genetically modified food is really harmful to human health. If the scientists prove that it is harmful to human health then anti-GM would be correct.

On the contrary, if it is proven that genetically modified food is not hazardous to human health, the pro-GM would be right. The conventional approach can also be used to determine which group is correct. This approach compares behavior with the norm. In view of the fact that genetically modified foods was not use in the past and had only been created recently, it cannot be considered the norm. Hence, in this case, the anti-GM is correct whereby the pro-GM is wrong. This is because anti-GM does not support the using of genetically modified food which is considered the behavior of the norm.

On the other hand, the pro-GM which supports the use of genetically modified foods is not a behavior of the norm. Genetically modified Organism Public Policy In order to solve the genetically modified organism problem, public policy in terms of regulations, laws, decisions or actions can be implemented. There are a few regulations that can be implemented to bring this issue to a halt. One of the ways is to have a regulation that all the food has to be check by the regulators before it is can be sold to the consumers. Only those foods that are proven that are safe for consumption will be sold.

This way, it will ensure that all the food including genetically modified foods are safe for consumption and that it would not cause any harm to human health. This regulation will benefit both the pro-GM as well as the anti-GM. There will be no banning of genetically modified food unless there it is found that it will have bad impact of human health. It will also be benefits to the anti-GM as their main concern is that the genetically modified foods will be bad for health, and since it is proven that it is safe, there will be no loss to anti-GM. Another way was to have a regulation called labeling.

This is to according to the deontological theories of ethical principles. The deontological theories focused on duties. The labeling regulation requires the company to notify their consumers that their product consists of genetically modified ingredients. This is to provide the consumers with the opportunity to decide if they want to purchase a certain product. As for products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients, it is also possible for them to label their product; state that the product is free from genetically modified ingredients.

This way, consumers who do not prefer genetically modified food will be able to avoid it. The labeling regulation has benefits to both the pro-GM as well as the anti-GM. Bridging the Gap It is hard to bridge the gap between the pro-GM and the anti-GM because they both have their own beliefs and different ethical culture. It s quite clear that the anti-GM is more ethical as compared to the pro-GM because they objects to the use of genetically modified food because they believe that it will have bad impacts environment, cause possible dangers to wildlife and plants and also that it is hazardous to human health.

Thus, one way is to send the pro-GM for ethics training. Perhaps through this training, they will be more aware of ethical behaviors and eventually be will act morally. After attend ethics, hopefully they will start to think ethically and not support genetically modified until there is scientific proves that genetically modified foods are harmless. Another way is to make use of the ventilation ethical test. This test requires one to tell others about their proposed actions and get their opinions.

Through this test, the pro-GM can talk to the anti-GM to find out why they are supporting different things. This may also help to bridge the gap among the two groups. Conclusion Technology are getting more advance as the time passes and people are starting to make use of technology to achieve a practical purpose. Now, technology is doing too much that ethical issues arises. The important thing is to balance the how fast the technology is advancing with the people’s ethical development. This way, ethical issues will be resolved.

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Toxic Tacos? The Case of Genetically Modified Foods. (2017, Apr 02). Retrieved from

Toxic Tacos? The Case of Genetically Modified Foods
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