I am reposting something I wrote earlier cause I felt it might merit a fresh post. Please forgive me if you read the original under "cattle cloning."
Eating in a Modern World -
Genetics, Cloning, and the Food Supply
I am a big believer of compromise when it comes to the food I eat. It's a bit impractical to live in a shack on a hill growing my own food. I shop at the supermarket, but also seek out the farmer's market whenever possible.
That said, we don't really know what effect cloned cattle and genetically modified soybeans and corn will have on the environment. The long term impact of these technologies has not been studied in any depth!
I do scientific stuff for a living, but using the earth as a giant genetics lab, particularly for GM plants, I find a bit scary.
For me the bottom line is taste. And you can be sure that the cloned cow and the GM corn were not produced to create better tasting food, but to maximize yield, resist herbicides, and boost the bottom line.
We subsidize Big Agriculture massively with our taxes in this country. If a small fraction of those $$$ were spent on fostering traditional methods, sustainable harvests, and the small family farm, our food costs would stay exactly where they are, and the food might even taste better! (A few sugar, corn, and cotton megafarmers might not be quite so rich.)
I don't see this as an elitist issue. All humans should have the food they need to survive. While we are providing that food we can make some thoughtful decisions about how we grow it.
We are bypassing thousands of years of evolution; I would hope that in the process we might pause for some brief reflection. What I buy at the supermarket increasingly tastes homogenous. When the trout you are eating is fed the same soybeans as the chicken on the grill, they begin to taste the same.
I am not a vegetarian, but I'd rather eat tofu then flavorless farm-raised trout or catfish. On the other hand, farm raised salmon tastes pretty good.
Will the next generation of children know the taste of a ripe tomato?
There are no easy answers. Let's make intelligent choices about how we live in, and eat in our world.