Effects on Human Health With the way technology has grown, especially in the field of genetic engineering, has led scientists to figure out a way to alter how food is made. This raises concerns and lot of questions regarding the methods they are using. From what possible side effects can occur to the risks it poses to everyone and everything. Unfortunately, there has been limited research and testing done. With that in mind there is not enough information available about the hazards of genetically modified foods. But, what we do know is alarming.
Most of the debate surrounding GM foods are focus on the following three issues: 1. Human and environmental safety, 2. Labeling, and 3. Consumer choice. In this section of the paper I will be discussing how genetically modified food can be dangerous on the health of humans.
First we will start with the definition of Genetically Modified (GM) is "a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of such living organisms as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using living organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers." The unique structure of GM food creates risk to humans which can affect them in the following ways: allergic reactions, toxicity, antibiotic resistance, adverse health side effects and death. It is impossible to foresee the damage inflicted by genetic food; it is a matter of wait and sees what consequences occur because of it. During the genetic modification process, proteins from organisms that have never before been a part of the human food chain are being used and so, GM food may cause allergic reactions. Allergens could be transferred from foods people are allergic to into foods that they think are safe. For example in 1996, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.
(a seed company now owned by DuPont) developed a genetically modified soybean using a gene from a Brazil nut to increase the protein content of its animal feed. Independent tests on the GM soybean showed that people allergic to Brazil nuts reacted to the GM soybean. There are also the cross-species transfers being made, like between fish and tomatoes, this would not happen in nature on its own and using this new technology can create new toxins, diseases, and weaknesses. Cross- species also brings into equation, religious and vegetarian groups that would object to genes from some species. Another concern is antibiotic resistance; these genes are used as 'markers' in GM crops to identify which plant cells have successfully incorporated the desired foreign genes during modification. The problem falls with the presence of antibiotic genes in food; these genes could be passed onto the bacteria in the guts of humans, making disease-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Could you imagine the epidemic that could happen because of this? Now we have to deal with Toxicity of some foods. A scientist has little control over where a gene is inserted or how many copies of that gene are put into the receiving organism. GM products have the potential to be toxic and a threat to human health. In 1989 a genetically engineered brand of L-tryptophan, a common dietary supplement, killed 37 Americans and permanently disabled or afflicted more than 5, 000 others with a potentially fatal and painful blood disorder, eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS), before it was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration. Opinions vary greatly regarding Genetically Modified foods.
Whether you are for it or against we all need to insist on more studies and testing to insure the safety of humans, animals and the environment. Because once we have let loose this modified organism into the environment, it can't be undone. Other words once the cat is out of the bag there is no way you can put it back in. ResourcesBatalion, Nathan (2000) 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods, American for Safe Food Oneonta, New York Cummins, R & Lil liston, B (2004) Genetically Engineered Food: A Self - Defense Guide for Consumers Marlow &Company New York Greenpeace International, web Genome Project, (2004) web Genome / else /gm food.
shtmlMcHughen, Alan, (2000) Pandora's Picnic Basket Oxford University Press, Oxford New York World Health Organization (WHO), web.