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The Future Generation Of Food And Humans

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Elisa Sky: Alex May, did you know that I'm a vegetarian AND I eat organic?

Alexis May: No, I did not. Why did you choose to be a vegetarian, Sky, aren't you a little young to be deciding that?

Elisa Sky: Because, Alex May. It's better. In my class, I have a teacher that makes us healthy. He makes us bring in snacks like apples and carrots and stuff. He doesn't want us to grow up to be Ð''a beast'. We do research in our class on foods that we eat and we found out that they are um... kinda like messed with.

Alexis May: What do you mean they are being Ð''messed with'? And, Sky, the word is obese. It means that you are fatter than you are supposed to be and it is unhealthy.

Elisa Sky: Yeah that's the one. Well, you know the chickens we see at the petting zoo? They get tortured before we eat them and they put other things in them. YUCK. My teacher thinks that it could be life treating in the future. And... I don't want to die.

Alexis May: Sky, death is a part of life. Like Hobbz. But, okay. So, what does your teacher tell you to do? Or, how does he help keep you healthy?

Elisa Sky: Well, he brings us organic snacks or the things that he grows in his backyard. If we bring chips and unhealthy stuff he calls our parents and tells them that we can't go to school with it. I like him, he's nice, and he cares about us and makes us care about ourselves. I mean, Alex May, if a parent or adult won't look after meÐ'... I have to, so I can stay healthy.

By having this conversation with my 9 year-old cousin, I began to think about how this generation is much different than the youth of the past. They seem to be more absorbent, faster in maturing, and are more outspoken about how they feel. In this conversation, Elisa Sky began to tell me how one man in her life had changed her life for years to come. This man had opened her eyes to a new horizon and filled her with knowledge. He taught her about genetically engineered foods and how to stay healthy. As a first grade teacher he is doing everything possible so that he can to help their generation keep healthy and learn about issues that are occurring in today's worlds. If you would ask me, I'd say he's turning them into little adults.

As an adult, we are the providers for ourselves and sometimes others, such as elderly parents or children. It is only natural to want the best for those whom we care about and ourselves. Today, as you enter a supermarket and begin grocery shopping; meat, fruits, and vegetables are the main categories on your list. Instinctively, you search for the leanest, cheapest, most eye catching meat. We also look for the bigger vegetables and fruits, with the most vivid color, and sweetest smell. But, what exactly made it that way? As my cousin said, "They [fruits, vegetables, and meats] are being messed with." By saying that they were Ð''messed with' she was referring to the process of genetic alteration.

Food today is far from the hunter/ gather era that our forefathers lived in. This is due to technology; it has given us numerous advances including advances in the production of food. Almost every type of food that is in this world is not natural; it is genetically engineered. "The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimates that between 70 percent and 75 percent of all processed foods available in U.S. grocery stores may contain ingredients from genetically engineered plants." (U.S Food and Drug Administration) Genetic engineering is when certain genes of an organism are extracted and placed in another organism. This is done to give them a distinguished trait that will increase its appeal to the consumer. A perfect example of this would be the papayas grown in Hawaii; they were enhanced with a little portion of the virus that was ruining crops. Although that process is usually used on vegetables and fruits, there are other methods used for meat. Much of the meat that we eat here in the United States are injected with hormones, steroids, are fed an unhealthy diet, and have horrific living conditions. Yes, they may seem perfectly fine since the production is increasing and we are receiving more for our dollar, but was it ever fully thought out?

Genetically altered foods are great for the reason that they increase shelf life and may reduce the chance of some bacteria. Yet, replacing or enhance genes in any human would be considered creating a different human. When genes from an organism are placed into another it is quite similar, since overall it will be entering our bodies as well. The concerns that may arise for human effects that can be caused by genetically engineered food are the toxicity levels, the increase in allergic reaction, the nutritional value, and the stability of the newly inserted gene. Another thought one must consider is how our bodies will react to the genetically modified food. Allergens may arise through genetically modified food and to our dismay we will not have a cure or medication due to the fact that we have never dealt with a case before. Imagine a toddler or even your own child or elderly parent who could be near death because of this situation. The hormones that are injected into an animal are also affecting us as humans, since we consume it. One example of it would be the increasing growth and hormonal changes in children and teenagers. There has not been a significant amount of studies to prove that there is no effect for the future. Although the effects may not be visible in a short amount of time, there is a possibility that in the future when our bodies become more fragile and our immune system is weaker, it will strike us.

Another issue is the chemicals placed upon our food. These chemicals are referred to as pesticides; they are used to prevent bacteria on our vegetables and fruits as they are flourishing. Some pesticide chemicals can also be found in household cleaners that are entering our bodies and may cause illness. Dr. Marion Moses explains, "Studies link pesticide exposure to cancer, birth defects, stillbirth, infertility, and damage to the brain and nervous system [...]" (Consumer Pesticides Safety Series) In a study performed by Dr. Moses he states that with



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