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The Tea on Food Science

Gabriella Rodriguez-Sanchez, Reporter

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Food science is defined by the Institute of Food Technologists as the improvement of foods for the consuming public, and there is much controversy surrounding the safety of and need for genetic modifications to produce enough food for the world’s growing population.

While some consider food science a step in the right direction towards solving overpopulation and dietary issues, others question the integrity and health risks of consuming food that has been altered.

“Food science has contributed to society by providing more resources to effectively feed people in a shorter time frame,” said CTE/Food Science teacher Melissa Rushing. “It has provided more options in our food choice.”

According to Rushing, the public is informed about food science and is allowed to choose what they prefer to consume.

“Since people know about food science, they opt for organic options because they believe it is safer than modified produce,” Rushing said.

Rushing believes genetically modified foods are needed in the world and contain many beneficial qualities.

“Farmers are [left] with the responsibility of feeding millions, and food scientists help modify the produce for the amount of people,” Rushing said. “There are so many people with different dietary restrictions and allergies, and it falls on food scientists and farmers to meet those needs successfully.”

Rushing believes genetically modified foods are safe because they are tested by organizations such as the FDA and the USDA which have strict guidelines to ensure the health of people is the main priority.

“In the food technology classes I’ve taken, we investigated where the public gets their food from and the work that goes into to making food more nutritious,” Rushing said. “There is always an exact process of making quality produce that is safe for the general public.”

Rushing explained the difference between processed food and genetically modified food.

“Processed foods have taken away natural spoilage and have added preservatives to give food a better shelf life,” Rushing said. “This differs from the work that food scientists do to genetically modify produce to meet people’s dietary needs and high demand for resources.”

Freshman Zora Szabo said her family doesn’t consume any foods that have been genetically altered.

“My family grows their own foods, so we always opt for organic food products,” Szabo said.

According to Szabo, genetically modified foods aren’t the best for people because some come with health risks compared to organic produce, but she understands the reason the world would need them.

“People in less developed places may not have all the resources they need to make enough food naturally,” Szabo said. “Genetically modified foods can make it easier to make more food for people efficiently.”

Szabo believes modified produce also has the potential to hinder society.

“Foods that have been genetically modified can help keep up with the growing population, but it also contributes to overpopulation by enabling more resources for more people to consume,” Szabo said. “Overall, it is up to the people to decide if they will eat these altered products.”

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