Genetically Modified Foods

The term genetically modified or genetically modified organisms is most frequently used to talk about crop plants generated for animal and human ingestion using updated biology molecular techniques. Genetically modified foods arise from genetically modified crops. Genetically modified crops have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques.

Organic Foods Vs Genetically Modified Foods

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994. Genetically modified plants are generated in a laboratory by altering their genetic makeup. In most cases, crops that are genetically modified are sold as commodities, which are further processed into food ingredients.

The regulation of genetic modification concerns the approaches taken by government to assess and manage the risks associated with the use of genetic engineering technology and the development and release of genetically modified organisms. These crops are changed in a laboratory to boost preferred qualities such as increase resistance to many herbicides and enhanced nutritional content. Genetic engineering can design crops with the precise desired traits, very quickly and with extreme precision.

There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified food. Although there is growing concern regarding genetic modification, there are many advantages as well, which include the following. The world inhabitants is growing at a rapid rate and guaranteeing a satisfactory foodstuff supply for the ever growing inhabitants is likely to be huge challenges in the future. A way, in which genetically modified food is able to encounter this demand, is as a result of a few factors. Firstly, the extensive crop losses that farmers experience are as a result of pests, which cause disturbing financial decrease for the farmers together with huger in developing countries. As a result, farmers use a great deal of compound pesticides in order to help get rid of the problem. However, producing GM foods can help to eliminate the usage of all chemical pesticides. Cold tolerance is another factor that can destroy crops. However with an antifreeze gene that is introduced into the plants, it allows these plants to endure cooler temperatures that would usually destroy the crops. Malnutrition is extremely common in 3rd world countries, where needy people rely on one crop type, for example, rice as their primary staple diet. However, rice doesn’t possess enough of the required nutrients to stop malnutrition. If food for example rice could possibly be genetically modified in order to have extra minerals and vitamins, nutrient problems could be lessened or even eradicated all together. These foods also grow faster than the foods that are produced in the traditional manner. Due to this factor, productivity increases, providing the population with more food. At times, genetically engineered food crops can be grown in places with unfavorable climatic conditions. A normal crop can grow only in a specific season or under some favorable climate conditions. Though the seeds for such foods are quite expensive, their cost of production is said to be lesser than that of the traditional crops. The main reason for this is that these foods have natural resistance towards pests and insects, therefore not many pesticides and insecticides have to be sprayed on them. This also makes those foods free of chemicals and environmentally friendly. Genetically engineered foods are said to be high in nutrients, and contain more minerals and vitamins than those found in traditionally grown foods. Another reason for people opting for genetically modified food is that they have an increased shelf life and so there is less fear of foods getting rotten quickly.

Although there are numerous advantages with regard to genetically modified foodstuff, there is also a great deal of criticism that surrounds the topic. Critics have objected to genetically modified foods on several grounds, including safety issues, ecological concerns, and economical concerns. There are also many controversies surrounding genetically modified food on several levels, including whether food produced is safe, whether it should be labelled and if so how, whether agricultural biotech is required in order to address world hunger now or in the future, and more specifically to genetically modified crops-intellectual property and market dynamics, environmental effects of genetically modified crops, and genetically modified crops’ role in industrial agricultural more generally. Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, professional associations and other scientists and Government officials have all spoken out about concerns that focus on genetically modified foods, and condemned agribusiness for going after profit without worrying about the possible hazards, and the Government for not being able to exercise good enough regulatory oversight. There has been much concern and controversy over certain threats caused by genetically modified foods, such as environmental hazards. Another major concern is human health dangers. Recent studies have shown that many children have developed allergies to certain products.

GM Cropping

There is a likelihood that combining a gene into a plant, may form an allergen, or result in allergic reactions. The biggest threat caused by this food is that they can have harmful effects on the human body; it is believed that consumption of these genetically engineered foods can cause the development of diseases which are immune to antibiotics. Economic concern is another factor that one needs to take into account. Bringing genetically modified foods to market takes long and is an expensive process, and agribiotech businesses wish to guarantee a lucrative return on investment. Many of the latest plant genetic engineering technologies and genetically modified crops have been patented. The patent infringement is a large worry of agribusiness. Yet customer supports are extremely concerned that patenting those crop varieties will increase the expense of seeds so enormously that minor farmers and 3rd world countries could most probably not have enough money for seeds to purchase the genetically modified crops, thus increasing the space between the rich and the poorer people. Governments all over the globe are working hard to create a regulatory policy and check the effects and improve new variations of genetically modified plants. Yet subject to the social, political and economic climate within the area or country, various governments are answering in different ways. The cross-pollination method of transferring genes can cause damage to additional organisms that thrive in the environment. Experts are of the opinion that with the increase of such foods, developing countries would start depending more on industrial countries because of the likelihood that the food creation would be controlled by them in the time to come.

In 2000, twelve countries grew genetically engineered crops commercially. These included the US, Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, South Africa, China, France, Germany, Spain, Romania, and Uruguay. As time goes on, the science behind genetic engineering is no doubt improving. This could be the future and genetically modified foods could really provide alternatives to help increase food production. However, there is an increasing alarm from citizens, farmers and scientists who question the way research is currently being handled by a few large, profit-hungry corporations. This leads to questions of the motives of corporations and countries that are using the plight of the developing world as a marketing strategy to gain acceptance of genetically modified foods.

Genetically modified foodstuffs have the possibility to resolve a vast amount of the world’s malnutrition and starvation problems, as well as to assist in looking after and reserve the milieu by increasing produce and decreasing dependence upon herbicides and chemical pesticides. However, there are numerous challenges ahead such as safety testing rules, worldwide policy and foodstuff labelling. Many believe that genetic engineering is foreseeable in time to follow and that we can’t afford to overlook a form of technology which includes such great possible benefits. However, we should continue cautiously to evade causing unintentional damage to human wellness and environmental problems, because of excitement for this extremely powerful technology.