Are students interested in knowing what they eat?


Photo: Protesters in Seattle rallying against Monsanto’s GMOs. Photo by Alexis Baden-Mayer for MillionsAgainstMonsanto via flickr 


Carlos Coba/Contributing Writer

No other nation in the world uses genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to support their diet as much as the United States does. In fact, GMOs are so commonly used by Americans that there is a huge market that depends on the industry of genetically modified food products.

To understand the power this industry has in our society, one can simply turn on the news or read a newspaper on any given day and find news related to the GMO phenomena affecting our society.

For example, on April 10, President Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act, an act which exempts biotechnology corporations like Monsanto from judicial restrictions. This act was included in the budget bill that was submitted, and not surprisingly, Monsanto even wrote some of the act itself.

This shows the level of power and leverage that these GMO-creating corporations have on American society.

Photo by Alexis Baden-Mayer for MillionsAgainstMonsanto via flickr.

Yes, those companies have gained substantial political influence through lobbyists, but we are also to blame for letting it get that far. American citizens in some states have had the opportunity to raise public awareness regarding genetically modified products, but have failed to pass the necessary bills to do so.

In late 2012, Californians had an opportunity to legalize food labeling on products made with GMOs by passing Proposition 37. However, it did not pass, and many blame corporate coalition which supposedly invested millions of dollars in efforts to prevent Proposition 37 from being passed.

It is always easier to blame others for our problems, so many just blame the corporations and their financial power for the lack of GMO-containing food labels, but it is also our fault. Our culture is centered around fast “food,” which is the least nutritional and is made with the worst kinds of GMOs.

Just look around MMC campus, you see fast food chains like BK, Chik Fil A and even Taco Bell is coming to FIU. While everyone is crazy about the “Locos Tacos,” very few people take the time to consider the issue that college students must face: Most of us work part-time jobs and have lots of bills to pay, so eating cheap is the easy choice, so we conform to the “food” choices we are offered.

Organic foods are relatively pricy and out of the budget of an college student with an average income, but shouldn’t we demand healthier choices on campus?

It seems that for every five unhealthy choices in our food courts, there is one healthy choice. Sure, we all have the right to eat whatever we feel like eating, and we have some healthy options like Salad Creations and Jamba Juice, but the options are unbalanced.

If I have the right to make a choice about what to eat at my university, at least make it a fair choice by adding healthier restaurants to campus, not Taco Bell.

Many students feel the same way, they just are not outspoken about it or they doubt they can make a difference.

Camila Uzcategui, a biology major at FIU, feels that “More money can be made from fast food establishments because that is what an overwhelming majority of students can afford on a daily basis, but quality should be more important than quantity; we deserve better.”

I wonder how Floridians would vote if we had the chance to pass a bill like Proposition 37. Would we be interested in knowing what food products are pumped with GMOs or we would just look the other way?

This might be a polarizing issue for many students, but it is an issue that should be discussed. Maybe the first step towards getting healthier restaurant choices on campus would be to let FIU administrators know how curious we are about knowing what food they offer us.

It might seem far-fetched to think we would ever see GMO-labeling in our university’s food products, but maybe the first step towards raising the awareness about the unhealthy contents of our food is simply to speak out and ask for more nutritional options in places like the GC food court or the Market Station at PG5. 

About the Author

Carlos Coba
Assistant News Director of FIUSM. Political Science/ International Relations 2ble major, Journalism minor, Latin American and Caribbean Studies certificate.

1 Comment on "Are students interested in knowing what they eat?"

  1. Great article. I have always wondered why we are not given as many healthy options on campus either. Could it be because Pepsi owns pretty much all of our options? The farmer’s market does a good job of providing healthy alternatives to fast food, but we need more options indeed. Hopefully more students will become aware of this now.

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