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Essay/Term paper: Genetic modified food

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Medicine

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Genetic 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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