The news article “Are ‘Natural Flavors’ Really Natural?” reports about the ethical conduct of flavor manufacturers. The digital article is authored by Roni Caryn Rabin and published by New York Times on February 1, 2019. In this article, the ethical dilemma relates to failure of flavor companies to disclose the ingredients of natural flavors they manufacture. Here, the company owners and employees are in a dilemma on whether to continue pursuing profits or inform the consumers about the harmful nature of food flavors. This ethical dilemma can be explained using conditions for exploitation found in page 186 of the course text.
In this ethical dilemma, manufacturers are split on whether to keep quiet about inorganic additives they add to natural flavors or inform their customers to make a choice. Disclosing details about additives will definitely affect sales and reduce profits. Therefore, these companies decide to keep quiet, and instead, exploit a loophole within the regulation. The regulation forbid flavor manufacturers from using inorganic products to manufacture flavors but is silent on disclosing ingredients and chemicals used in processing. Pointedly, a clear regulation can be used to solve the dilemma, where manufacturers are required to disclose ingredients used in manufacturing flavors. Meanwhile, a clear law makes it possible for customers to make informed choices. Based on conditions of exploitation, the law is the resource exploited by the dominant party (flavor manufacturers) to take advantage of subordinate party (consumers). The resource is used by the dominant party without compensation. Rabin explains that food advocates have advised those with dietary allergies to avoid such food flavors (n.p). Therefore, customers who fail to adhere to the advice have to solely incur medical expenses after consuming harmful food flavors.
The invasive species are a major problem because once introduced to the ecosystem they have the potential to damage the environment, cause harm to human health, and negatively affect the economy. Regarding to economy, invasive species cause crop decimation, clogs water facilities, transmit disease to animals and threaten the survival of fish. Known examples of invasive include West Nile virus and sea lamprey among others.
Engineers can implement ballast water management to address the negative impacts of invasive species. This process entails exchanging ballast water at the center of the ocean to mitigate the transfer of organism from one ecosystem to another (United States Commission on Ocean Policy 257). Accordingly, the mindset needs to be changed through education and public awareness. Pet owners, scuba divers, gardeners need to be informed about the potential negative impacts of invasive species. Creating awareness is also a sound measure to obtain public support.
The code of ethics under the society for ecological restoration applies for this topic. The code allows for research and innovations as a way of addressing ecological issues (Society for Ecological Restoration n.p). Research and innovation will examine the appropriate approach that can be used to mitigate problems posed by invasive species.
As an aspiring mechanical engineer, I believe I can tap on the green energy to design a product that can change lives in my community. According to ASME, engineers have a fundamental role to change the lives of people by designing products that can make major impacts in communities (n.p). Thus, green energy has the potential to address most of the societal problems people face.
I intend to improve energy security and reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere by producing biofuels using photosynthetic microorganism like algae. This will not only produce energy to my community but also address the global warming and climate change problem. This innovation is quite complex though the raw materials are readily available (Dayanidhi and Kazuyuki n.p). The microorganism will be used to attract solar energy and convert excess carbon dioxide into high-energy chemicals (Dayanidhi and Kazuyuki n.p). With the assistance of metabolic engineering, microorganisms will be used to assimilate excess carbon dioxide into biofuels.
Further, I will involve other engineers to help transform the community because as outlined by ASME, everybody is capable of being part of a solution (n.p). What an engineer needs to do is to think critically and formulate solutions to address societal concerns.
ASME. Engineering for Global Development Keynote and Lightning Talk excerpts at
IDETC/CIE 2015. ASME, Mar 26, 2016. Available at: https://www.asme.org/topics-resources/content/video-global-development-keynote-lightning-talk. Accessed November 8, 2019.
Dayanidhi, Sarkar and Kazuyuki, Shimizu. An overview on biofuel and biochemical production
by photosynthetic microorganisms with understanding of the metabolism and by metabolic engineering together with efficient cultivation and downstream processing. Springer Link, 16 April 2015. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40643-015-0045-9. Accessed November 8, 2019.
Rabin, Caryn. Are ‘Natural Flavors’ Really Natural? New York Times, Feb. 1, 2019. Available
at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/well/eat/are-natural-flavors-really-natural.html. Accessed November 8, 2019.
Society for Ecological Restoration. Code of Ethics. Society for Ecological Restoration, 2013.
Available at: https://www.ser.org/page/CodeofEthics. Accessed November 8, 2019.
United States Commission on Ocean Policy. An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century: Final