Genetically Altered Food Essay Research Paper Genetic

Genetically Altered Food Essay, Research Paper

Genetic Modified FoodGenetic modification of organisms in general is a

biotechnological process that forces genes to

behave according to certain characteristics.

Changing characteristics of organisms is based on

changing their DNA (tech deoxyribonucleic acid;

the acid which carries genetic information in a

cell). It is being used for modifying genes in plants,

animals or micro-organisms. It is being also used

especially with food in order to improve the

nutritious quality, make less use of chemicals such

as pesticides, which proved to be extremely

harmful, and sometimes to add flavour. Genetically

modified food (GMF) is considered one of the

modern production improvements and the largest

food experiments in the world?s history. However,

it is very vital to dispel misconception about the

nature of food. GMF is a mixed blessing which

has a lot of benefits but at the same time may

arouse problems. It has many good aspects, such

as making plants ripen faster, improving the

specie?s taste and look, and providing Third

World countries with healthier and cheaper food.

Genetic modification of food has won the

admiration of a lot of people, including myself,

because of its new and attractive

accomplishments, but at the same time we should

take into consideration its disadvantages and try to

find ways to avoid them. Genetically modified

foodstuffs have several disadvantages which I

believe are possibly avoidable through research

and experiments. Most of the time, the sale of

GMFs is being permitted without posing the risks

and without informing the public with the possible

danger. This of course is a violation of human

rights which can Nagi2 easily be avoided by

simply informing consumers of the characteristics

of the product. When genetic engineers insert new

genes into any organism, it can lead to disruption

and unpredictable changes in the pattern and

structure of the new genetic function. “In fact, the

process of inserting genes is quite random and can

damage normal genes ” (Genetic Engineered Food

- A Serious Health Risk 3). Therefore, harmful

substances may appear unexpectedly and can

possibly create viruses and new dangerous

diseases. Therefore, it is the obligation of experts

to examine GM products before making them

available to the public in order to avoid

undesirable diseases. A common example is, when

some people who are allergic to certain kinds of

food such as fish eat genetically modified products

such as tomatoes which were injected with genes

similar to these fish, they get easily affected by

allergens. Also, GMFs might contain toxins, which

may negatively affect human beings. An

experiment run on rats by feeding them with GM

potatoes affected their digestive tracks caused

changes in some of their organ weights and caused

adverse effects on their immune system(south

pacific consumer protection programme1). Such

experiments show the importance of thoroughly

examining GM products and making sure of their

safety on humans. In addition to that, there are

long-term effects with reasons not yet identified.

That could also be avoided by further research

and continued experiments. GMF is now entering

the market with an increasing rate. Products

include tomatoes, corn, potatoes and soybeans. A

main problem is that the issue of labelling these

products is not yet widely used. Most developed

countries have adopted laws Nagi 3 that require

product labelling of ingredients, fats, vitamin,

protein and carbohydrate. These nutrition

information provides consumers with a level of

awareness and choice. Similarly, GMF producers

are obliged to label their products. They have to

provide their customers with all necessary

information about the produce. This is the least

that could be done to preserve the rights of

consumers to know and decide for themselves.

Labelling is then one possible choice that could

help in avoiding some of the GMFs dangers.

People have the right to know if the food they are

consuming is genetically modified whether it is a

matter of health, preference or just a matter of

taste” Surveys consistently find that 85-90 % of

consumers want clear labelling of all genetically

engineered foods”(Genetic Engineered Food- A

Serious Health Risk 2). Moreover, it is necessary

to label food if the nutritional content is changed.

Take tomatoes for example; they are a source of

Vitamin C, but if through modification they lose

this characteristic (Vitamin C ), consumers

definitely have the right to know. The wrong

treatment of GM crops may cause several

environmental risks. It was proved that GM crops

are easy to grow in most kinds of soils. They can

grow in land that is prone to drought or erosion in

addition to soils with highly salt acid conditions.

They are also capable of growing in changing

climates( Genetically Modified food 4). This of

course makes it easier to grow GM crops than

growing natural crops. Unfortunately, this

advantage is widely misused. Usually, farmers are

aware of the tolerance of GM crops to herbicides

(a chemical substance used to kill herbs), so they

overuse herbicides. This of course harms the soil

and greatly affects its performance later on. This

can also pollute groundwater and can cause

various other Nagi 4 forms of ecological damages.

Such situations are misinterpreted by some

people, as they think that such damages to the soil

are caused by the growth of GM crops on it. I

believe, that the main reason for such damages is

the ignorance of the farmers themselves. This

problem is very common and its only solution, in

my opinion, is improving the level of knowledge of

the farmers. They need to be aware of the right

agricultural techniques of GM crops. Another

problem with growing GM crops, is that some are

insect-resistant which means that they may be

toxic to beneficial or harmless insects.

Furthermore, there are several way through which

the genes of GM crops may move to other plants.

That is to say, GM crops could pollute nearby

natural crops. As an example, through insects,

birds and wind it can carry genetically altered

seeds into neighbouring fields by mistake which

will influence other natural food. “In February

thousands of bags of corn chips that had been

imported from US had to be destroyed in the UK

when tests revealed that they contained genetically

engineered corn”. This was because of being

polluted by genetically engineered corn from

neighbours? crop. A major theme is that genetic

engineering of food is necessary to help solve

world hunger. Many people in the world are

suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Hunger in

the world is caused by war, drought and poverty.

But this is not the point. Scientists and

technologists are looking forward to developing

new inventions to face the continues increase in the

world population and get over the problems of

food shortages and hunger especially for Third

World countries. In fact, many people in different

places suffer from hunger and malnutrition simply

because they cannot afford to buy food; in

addition to that, it is unavailable. Hence, we have

two main Nagi 5 problems which are the expenses

of food and the lack of it. GMF could be the only

solution to solve this problem, in the meantime, it

can provide the world with much and cheap food.

Today, GMF hold out promise for consumers

seeking quality, safety and taste in their food

choices. Companies are doing their best to

improve the production, profits and quality. Many

foodstuffs in grocery shelves all over the world

contain genetically engineered components.

Tomatoes, for instance, have been genetically

modified to taste like home-grown ones or even

better. In the past, they were put in ethylene gas in

order to ripen faster which affected its taste and

look (squashy). A large amount of it was currently

lost by damage or degradation during transport

and shortage. Recently, genetic engineered

tomatoes can ripen faster and have fresher flavour

and a better look. In farms, tomatoes can be left

longer and picked when riper and thus become

tastier. As a result, they will be more available and

sold and will encourage people to buy them as

they are cheap. Likely future offerings include

potatoes that will absorb less oil when fried, corn

and soybeans with an increased protein content

and strawberries that retain their natural sweetness

(Genetically Modified food1). This all shows the

importance of GMF. People claim that transferring

animal genes into plant raises problems for

vegetarians. This might seem confusing, but a

deeper explanation will show that GMF is far

away from this idea. Vegetarians fear eating

genetically modified vegetables because of being

injected by animal genes. They do not realise that

scientists add new genes from animals intending

only to give plants several proteins. These plants

do not get affected by such pieces of genes, they

will grow just like any other plant. In other Nagi 6

words, we will not have pieces of animals in

vegetables. ” One of the things people probably

don?t realise is that there are genes in humans and

animals that are in plants. There is a gene that

occurs in rice that also occurs in the human brain.

Vegetarians would not avoid rice because of that.”

(Maryanski 3). So, vegetarians should feel safe

when eating GMF. The conclusion to be drawn

from the above is that GMF in one of the modern

production improvements and the largest food

experiment in the history of the world. Its

appearance has been very sudden. Now, a very

rapidly growing number of it is being introduced.

Maybe in a few years it may be almost impossible

to find natural food. No doubt, any dangerous

food production through genetic engineering

should be banned until scientifically shown that it is

safe for everyone. In the meantime, labelling is

required foe any foodstuff that contains genetically

engineered ingredients, and any risk that could

harm the environment should be banned. It has to

be acknowledged that GMF is one of the best

production that have emerged in our century.

Hopefully, in the future, it will not have any side

effects, and be healthier than the current natural

food. Containing all the Vitamins and nutrition that

we need. We have to put in mind that if people

knew all it advantages, they will surely get

convinced with the idea of producing GMF.


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