As Christians, we’re called to be good stewards of this earth and its resources. With this in mind, are genetically modified foods (GMOs, for genetically modified organisms) an insightful use of human ingenuity, or reckless manipulation of natural nutrition? The answer is likely nuanced. Corporate greed has utilized GMOs to double profits and monopolize certain crops, at the expense of giving GMOs their first PR black eye. However, new strains of corn have been generically engineered to contain vitamins that are lacking in Third World diets, such as Vitamin A, a deficiency of which causes blindness. Importantly, long term safety studies have not been performed. As discussed in this Times article, utilizing natural genes from other organisms is theoretically the best choice, but it’s unknown whether even these genes could cause harm in a different host. With both benefits and dangers hypothetical at this point, it’s important to regard GMO foods with both hopeful optimism and healthy skepticism.
This month the Center for Faith & Work is focusing on the New NYC Food Movement. Join us at our City Rhythms event on January 23rd for more on this topic.