Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 807–816 | Cite as

Is Genetically Modified Food Unnatural?

  • Helena SiipiEmail author


This paper argues for the following four claims: (a) the terms “natural” and “unnatural” are ambiguous. (b) Genetically modified food is unnatural in some senses of the term “unnatural”. (c) Natural food should be favored over unnatural food in some senses of the terms “natural” and “unnatural”. (d) Genetically modified food is not necessarily unnatural in a sense that would offer a good reason for favoring food that is not genetically modified. The claims are defended by distinguishing four different senses of the terms “natural” and “unnatural”. Each sense is analyzed with respect to its moral relevance for food choice.


Naturalness Genetically modified food Senses of terms Moral relevance 



Author wants to thank Payam Moula, Per Sandin, the anonymous referee and the participants of the Mistra Biotech workshop for their useful comments. Susanne Uusitalo has revised my English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, Turku Institute for Advanced StudiesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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