Genetically Modified/Engineered Food





Genetically Modified/Engineered Food


A report released in 2009, by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine note that their experiments revealed critical health problems linked to genetically engineered food, not limited to sterility, immunity deficiency, hastened aging, and insulin control issues. For over three decades, Americans and other advanced societies have consumed genetically modified elements in majority of processed foods. Surprisingly, the FDA has taken a neutral stand in addressing the usage of genetic approaches in food products. In fact, in 1992, the food regulatory agency denied that GMOs contained any additional chemical that differentiated them from organic foods grown in the garden (Verma, Nanda, Singh, and Sanjay 18). Their recommendation was that GMOs were and that they did not warrant additional research. The consequent explosion in development, promotion, and consumption of GMOs within the United States has transformed the food sustainability environment. However, it has also resulted in increased physical, psychological, and cognitive complications. These adverse health issues generate the question of safety in the consumption of GMOs.

Effects of GM Foods on Human Health

One of the major reasons for concentrating on the use of genetic modification is the gross health implications it bears. The alleged concealment of the truth behind GMOs also concealed the warnings from scientists that the consumption of GM foods displayed erratic and complex side effects such as allergies, poisons, undiscovered complications, and dietary issues (Pusztai, and Susan18). Most of these earlier anxieties over the safety of consuming GMOs were largely overwhelmed by the economic excitement (Verma et al. 23). Currently, biotech companies are grappling with the research to establish the unsafe elements within GM foods. Industry-funded GMO research cannot be relied upon because of its bias. The fundamental process in genetic engineering involves transferring genes across genetic boundaries (Pusztai, and Susan 67). The process uses inaccurate laboratory methods that do not reflect the natural breeding method. Gene insertion is done using outdated and ineffective ways that triggers substantial tissue damage and mutations in different locations all through the organism’s DNA (Verma et al. 45).

As of 2015, scientists have managed to modify the genetic composition of five major plants: cotton, corn, sugar beets, soy, and canola. These plants have been altered to ensure that they can thrive when exposed to toxic pesticides (Pusztai, and Susan 45). Consequently, farmers enjoy the luxury of using a greater volume of herbicide and this implies an increased volume of herbicide residue on the crops (Verma et al. 78). The combined effects of the herbicide tolerance and genetic engineering will be covered in the subsequent sections. Health and medicine associations and research bodies recommend that stakeholders in the food sector to desist from consuming GM products (Verma et al. 98). This is because previous studies illustrated the long-term residual effects of consuming this category of foods. Residual chemicals set the foundation for long-term health complications. Gene insertion for corn products example can introduce foreign elements into the human DNA (Pusztai, and Susan 93). The years after 1996 when GMOs were introduced in the public sphere were marked by a sharp increase in complicated diseases. Medical reports indicate that the proportion of Americans suffering from more than one chronic disease multiplied from 6% to 14% in less than a decade; food allergies exploded, and diseases such as digestive problems, reproductive diseases, autism, and others are increasing drastically (Verma et al. 56).

For a long time, allergies have been an ordinary problem for most Americans. However, decades after the adoption of genetically modified approaches towards producing food, instances of allergy attacks have tripled to the extent that currently, they affect just about 5% of the younger population and 2% of mature people (Verma et al. 165). These figures are alarming as they indicate a substantial health concern. Allergic are normal reactions that happen when a naturally harmless protein invades the body and triggers an immune reaction. Most of the genes injected into plant cells for genetic engineering purposes are protein-based. When such foods are consumed, the result is a new allergy that was previously unknown ferried in a product that had never been consumed. Such allergic attacks are very dangerous and lead to greater respiratory and digestive complications in the future. With each consequent serving of the same GM food, the immune reaction becomes greater. At the laboratory level, the results of several experiments indicated a tendency for allergies to occur. Likewise, health professionals have recorded an alarming number of bacterial strains that are intrinsically resistant to antibiotics (Verma et al. 123). This phenomenon occurs when bacteria create this form of resistance through natural alteration.

The problem is caused by genetic engineers who introduce the feature of antibiotic resistance genes when inserting new genes into organisms (Verma et al. 123). This process is mostly trial and errors since scientist are uncertain whether the new genes will be integrated into the genome of the plant. In most cases, this is what happens. However, in unique cases, bacteria located within the human being could develop an antibiotic resistance gene from the inserted GM plant. This scientific procedure has massive negative consequence on the progress made by medicine in the last century. This is because GM foods hold the potential to lower the immunity levels among its consumers significantly. Increased antibiotic resistance implies that even ordinary diseases such as smallpox, common cold, and tuberculosis could be fatal by the next decade (Pusztai, and Susan 156). Third world countries that are already grappling with sanitation and access to healthcare will suffer the most from lowered immunity after consuming GM foods (Verma et al. 153).

Reducing Consumption of GM Products

The most common and most practical approach towards reducing exposure to GM foods is consuming purely organic food products. One of the prominent arguing points for consuming organic food is that they have the necessary compounds to lower the consumer’s exposure to dangerous chemicals applied in modern agriculture significantly. Given that organic standards proscribe the addition of manufactured enhancement chemicals such as pesticides, it is logical that organic foods are less toxic (Pusztai, and Susan 108). While numerous studies have argued that organic food products are equally if not more toxic compared to GM foods, they are still fully natural. Within Europe and United States, food products in the market labeled with the Non-GMO Project Verified” seal can be guaranteed as fully organic.

Consumers can also reduce their exposure to GM foods by studying the ingredients and nutritional content information on packaging (Verma et al. 37). GM foods are normally characterized by several preservatives including stabilizers and aesthetic chemicals such as food coloring. Most of the solutions proposed by medical practitioners make extensive use of organic food products. At the national level, agencies such as US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) can be petitioned to ensure that they increase their standards concerning the origin and chemical content of food products (Verma et al. 67).


Possibly the only sensible conclusion to the discussion on the levels of safety in producing and consuming GM foods is that the process is neither fully beneficial nor is it detrimental. The knowledge of genetic engineering is highly suitable for agriculture stakeholders that have problems dealing with crop weeds and pests. Genetically modified plants may hold numerous benefits for farming purposes that experiences problems with inaccessibility, costs, and expertise. On the contrary, GM plants have an adverse effect on the health conditions of its consumers particularly in the long term (Verma et al. 90). Within United States, there is a silent war ongoing between consumer bodies and bioengineering entities. This war is about the ethics of using GM products especially in the public. Without a doubt, the increased understanding and manipulation of plant genes transformed the usage of technology in the agricultural sector. Definitely, the possibilities heldby future research in the fieldof genetic engineeringare substantial.However,the current amount of information available to scientists and the public concerning genetic modification and engineering is insufficient.

Researchers are still unable to trace the origin of the cell mutations and disorders created by long-term consumption of GM food products (Pusztai, and Susan 178). Similarly, scientists and medical practitioners have been unable to cure and prevent the adverse health effects of easting GM crops. The technology may have hold massive benefits for stakeholders in the food industry including farmers, food-processing companies other related entities in terms of increased harvests and lowered costs created by higher resistance (Verma et al. 78). The best solution appears to be an increased focus on learning more about the health effects of GM foods before investing in the new technology.


Works Cited

Pusztai, Arpad and Susan, Bardocz. Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What Are the Issues? Third World Network. 2011.

Verma, Charu, Nanda, Surabhi, R. K. Singh, R. B. Singh, and Sanjay Mishra. A Review on Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Human Health. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal. 2011, 4, 3-11.


Annotated Bibliography

Pusztai, Arpad and Susan, Bardocz. Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What Are the Issues? Third World Network. 2011.

The article discusses the global food environment and the role played by different international organizations such as EU in regulating the research, production, and consumption of GM foods. Arpad Pusztai is a biochemist and nutritionist at the Rowett Research Institute while Susan Bardocz is a former professor and nutritionist with the same institution. The paper is relevant to the course as it offers a view into the use of sanctions and other political instruments to limit the effects of GTM food consumption on humans.

Verma, Charu, Nanda, Surabhi, R. K. Singh, R. B. Singh, and Sanjay Mishra. A Review on Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Human Health. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal. 2011, 4, 3-11.

            The article discusses the potential benefits and disadvantages of implementing biotechnology in the agriculture sector. It concluded that while genetic engineering has reduced the impact of natural elements such as pests and diseases, it has significant risk on human health and the environment. Verma Charu is a professor at Institute of Foreign Trade & Management, Surabhi is a lecturer at the College of Engineering & Technology, R. K. Singh works at the Kumaon Engineering College, and Sanjay Mishra is a consultant with the Halberg Hospital & Research Center. The article is relevant to the study of the effects of GM foods on the physical and psychological health of human beings.


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