It's not often teenagers expound on the merits of genetically modified foods, but at a recent chat at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, there they were, debating with vigor.
"These [genetically modified organisms] are actually capable of delivering vaccines," said Brandon Ong, a junior at Providence High School in Burbank. "Instead of going to the doctor's office or somewhere like Vons to get a flu shot, I could eat a banana and get it right away."
But there are risks involved with genetically modified foods, his classmates countered, including allergens. And consumers in many countries, including the United States, don't even know what they are eating.
"Some people don't want GMOs in their bodies at all, and it is their choice," said Sutasana Chinotakul, 16.
The discussion ended inconclusively, but what was clear is that the students, all of them enrolled in Providence High School's medical program, had a better grasp of the subject matter than the average adult. And critical thinking is one of the top priorities of the program, said Director Dr. Arjan Harjani.