3D Printing Ethical Issues

1172 Words5 Pages
Despite the positive ethical implications of 3D printing in the food industry, there are several negative ethical implications that should be considered as well. Comparisons can be made with the controversies surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), in which the technology and supply of GMO seeds has over the years been patented and controlled by biotech conglomerates such as Monsanto (National Research Council, 2000). Similarly, the production of raw food materials utilised for 3D food printing, such as animal tissues and hydrocolloids, is a technologically intensive process. This can potentially be monopolised and controlled by private corporations if existing legal frameworks are excessively protective of intellectual property (IP) rights (Pollan, 2012). Ethical dilemmas exist because while supporters of stringent IP laws may argue that these protections promote corporate innovation and technological advancements (Spectar, 2002), this monopoly on the production technology could impede the global accessibility of these 3D-printed food technologies across geographical regions, income…show more content…
For instance, religious dietary requirements would not have anticipated the production of biofabricated raw meat materials such as in-vitro beef, and this ethical issue was widely debated online following the production of the first lab-grown beef patty in Maastricht (Heneghan, 2013). Religious authorities will therefore face the challenge of determining if these foods would be acceptable for consumption as this technology becomes more prevalent. Using the example of in-vitro beef, an analysis of these issues is represented in Table 4. Notably, if these foods are not acceptable for consumption from a religious authority’s point of view, then their consumption would be a violation of rule-utilitarianism ethics for followers of the particular
Open Document