So What Do You Think?

By Emanoil, Pamela | Human Ecology, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

So What Do You Think?


Emanoil, Pamela, Human Ecology


Opening Communication on Genetically Engineered Foods

Many Cornell researchers and extension educators are actively involved in addressing concerns about genetically engineered foods. But what are their personal thoughts about the risks and benefits of this technology?

As genetically engineered products like Round-up Ready soybeans, Flavr Savr tomatoes, Bt-corn, and Bt-potatoes make their way from the laboratory to our grocery store shelves, people are questioning the advantages and perils of genetic engineering. Are genetically engineered foods safe to eat? Will they harm the environment? Will they be a magic bullet against hunger and malnutrition? Will they reduce the need for pesticides?

Researchers at universities like Cornell play a key role in advancing the science and sorting out and answering these questions. In addition to their technical and scientific expertise, they bring their own perspectives, values, and beliefs to the research process. So what do these scientists and educators think about the technology they're investigating? Is there a common understanding of the potential risks and benefits? Is there a consistent voice for educating the public on the issues surrounding agricultural genetic engineering?

Jennifer Wilkins, a senior extension associate in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, turned to Cornell faculty and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators to get a pulse on how they view the technology. She conducted a study of viewpoints before the fall 1999 agriculture and food system in service education on genetically engineered foods and crops. Wilkins' research team included Vivica Kraak, research nutritionist, David Pelletier, professor of nutrition policy, Christine McCullum, doctoral candidate, and Ulla Uusitallo, doctoral student.

According to Wilkins, one of the primary responsibilities of a land-grant university like Cornell is to facilitate open communication on timely issues. A range of viewpoints should be accepted especially at Cornell because the university is a major center of research on genetic engineering and has an extension system that informs the public about the technology.

"If we're going to have a constructive dialog, one of the first things to work on is discovering how we talk about this topic and deciding what the salient issues are," Wilkins says.

People's viewpoints will be shaped by their values, experiences, and beliefs as well as their awareness and understanding of science-based facts, Wilkins adds. And while scientific research will address some of the concerns related to the technology, some of the ethical and social concerns will need to be addressed in other, more participatory ways.

Wilkins' study of 223 on-campus faculty and off-campus extension educators across New York State characterized the viewpoints of this highly educated group on the genetic engineering of foods. The study participants were given 48 statements, each on one of eight complex issues that surround the research, development, and application of this technology: public health, environmental sustainability, consumer aspects, agriculture and the food system, food security, animal welfare, land-grant university responsibilities, and regulatory and policy processes. They were asked to sort the statements according to levels of agreement and disagreement.

Based on their responses, Wilkins found that the participants fell into three distinct viewpoints: precautionary, promoter, and cautious supporter. The majority held either the precautionary or promoter perspectives.

Those with a precautionary viewpoint toward genetically engineered foods are most concerned with the consumers' "right to know." They want food labels that distinguish genetically engineered foods from non-genetically engineered foods. They disagree with the claim that genetically engineered food crops are essential to solving global food insecurity and micronutrient deficiency diseases. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

So What Do You Think?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.