Thus far, the moral debate concerning genetically modified foods (GMF) has focused on extrinsic consequentialist questions about the health effects, environmental impacts, and economic benefits of such foods. This extrinsic approach to the morality of GMF is dependent on unsubstantiated empirical claims and fails to account for the intrinsic moral value of food and food choice and their connection to the agent's concept of the goodlife. I develop a set of objections to GMF grounded in the concept of integrity and maintain that food and food choice can be intimately connected to the agent's personal integrity. I argue that due to the constitution of GMF and the manner in which they are produced, such foods are incompatible with the fundamental values and integrity of certain individual moral agents or groups. I identify three types of integrity that are threatened by GMF: religious, consumer, and integrity based on certain other moral or metaphysical grounds. I maintain that these types of integrity are sufficiently important to provide justification for political and societal actions to protect the interests of those affected. I conclude by proposing specific steps for handling GMF consistent with the moral principles of informed consent, non-maleficence, and respect for the integrity of all members of society. They include mandatory labeling of GMF, the implementation of a system for control and regulations concerning such foods, and guaranteed provision of conventional foods.
You Are What You Eat: Genetically Modified Foods, Integrity, and Society;
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
The EU recognises the consumers' right to information and labelling as a tool for making an informed choice. Since 1997 Community legislation has made labelling of GM food mandatory for foods containing or are derived from GMO.
Canadians should not let up their demands to provide consumers their birthright as Canadians, protected in our charter. We have the right to choose the foods that are morally. spiritually and ethically acceptable to us. It is our responsibility to ensure the unobstructed enjoyment of these rights.