Genetically Modified Food: Dangers of Using Genetically Modified Food

Subject: Genetically Modified Food
Pages: 5
Words: 1152
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Genetically modified food refers to the food products that are derived from organisms that are genetically engineered. These motivated foods have some levels of induced unnatural substances in them. The genetic motivation of food-producing organisms involves an alteration in the biological system of these organisms through the modification of their DNA to enhance the lever and rate of productivity of these organisms. The genetic motivation of organisms started with plants but has currently been developed in animals as well. This paper seeks to enlighten the general public on the use of genetically modified food as a primary or even secondary source of food. The paper will undertake the exploration of the dangers of using genetically motivated food.

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Dangers of using genetically modified food

The development of genetically engineered or modified foods is undertaken by conducting modifications in the genetic structure of the organism that produces such food products. It is thus induced by modifying the genes of an organism to make this organism more tolerant to environmental conditions such as the use of pesticides and even weather conditions that are unfavorable to the organism. Genes of a tolerant organism are therefore introduced into another organism to introduce the resistance traits of the gene donor to this other organism. The end result is a mutation process in the genetically modified organism in a manner that is contrary to its supposed natural development process. The induced resistance in the modified organism, as well as the process of unnatural mutation, is an issue that has raised concerns over genetically motivated food products. Fears have been raised that the introduction of foreign DNA into an organism has the possibility of greatly changing the genetic structure of such organisms. As a result, it has been warned that the use of products of such genetically engineered organisms can equally cause a significant change in the genetic structure of human beings. The genetic structure being the main determinant of characteristics of the body thus presents fears that such changes could be negative leading to abnormalities in body structure and functionality (Sustainable, n.d.).

Significant among the fears of using genetically modified food is the possibility of unknowingly exposing a person to substances that an individual is allergic to. An element that a person is allergic to can be transferred from a known organism to the individual to another that induces no allergic reactions. People are thus exposed to risks of foods that they are allergic to without them knowing since the details of genetic modifications are not normally supplied with the foods. The process of mixing genes of different organisms also has the potential threat of generating new forms of allergies to the newly generated products. Since the genetic motivation of these organisms induces a level of their resistance, there is a possibility that products of these organisms can induce resistance to the human body. Consequently, disease-causing organisms in the human body could develop such resistance creating a medical disaster. The modification can also alter the nutrient composition of organisms thus altering the nutritional value derived from the consumption of products of these modified organisms (Sustainable, n.d.).

Technological inadequacy is another danger posed by genetic engineering. Much understanding has not been developed in the transplantation of genes to the recipient organism. This poses dangers to the genes of the recipient that can be transferred to the genes of individuals who consume products of such organisms (Telegraph, 2011). Such fear for the danger of genetically modified food was similarly reflected by a United Nations food reporter, Jean Ziegler, in the year 2002. The reporter was protesting over the use of genetically engineered food by the United States to aid needy countries while natural food supplies were then available for such aid provisions. According to the reporter, the genetically modified food was being tested. Thus, if this was at all the case, then people in poor countries were being faced with the risks of consuming dangerous untested food products (Twin, 2002). Another danger is the uncertainty over the effects of these products on human lives that can be realized in even later generations (Fimrite, 2010). In addition, genetic engineering poses dangers to the entire global ecosystem following the flow in food chains. Dangerous implantation can trigger deadly effects in an organism which is then transferred along food chains (Mothers, n.d.). Lack of proper testing and even labeling has been another danger of these food species. This means that people are consuming food products that they have no knowledge about and have a possibility of unknown danger in their lives (Alliance, 2001).

In addition, the move to develop genetically modified food that is undertaken through engineering genes of organisms has been identified to cause a number of side effects on these organisms. Research has indicated that genetically engineered products cause such effects as “infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen” (American, 2008, p. 1) among others. There are thus possibilities of such effects of the products threatening the lives of human beings as well as that of animals upon which people depend (American, 2008). In spite of claims by proponents of genetically modified foods that the engineering increases the productivity of food, a number of research findings have revealed that the engineering is actually reducing the level of productivity of organisms thus causing fears of food insecurity as well reduced fertility levels in human beings that can be induced by these foods (The independent, 2008).

Another danger in the controversy is the lack of deliberation to a debatable conclusion over the effects of genetically modified products. Neither of the opposing groups of the argument is willing to listen to the other and help in solving the already identified issues. Those who are in favor of genetically modified food are on their part arguing that the products should not be controlled until any conclusive scientific proof is made over the dangers of these products while the opponents insist on their views without a tangible proof. Consumers are thus left in dilemma and compelled to use the products following their existence in the market without proper labeling. A yielded consensus by the two parties to work together for a solution could enhance human safety by availing a solution (Carroll, 2008). Myths that have been developed by both proponents and opponents of the genetically modified food have led to accusations and counter accusations from either side making it difficult to understand either the benefits or the risks of these products (Herring, 2006).

Conclusion

Though the risks of genetically modified food have not been conclusively explored, the possible dangers are enough warning since life in not replaceable. Measures should thus be undertaken to invest in the research over these possible dangers of the food. Meanwhile, restrictions should be ensured in the production of these foods in order to protect lives.

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References

Alliance. (2001). Landmark lawsuit challenging FDA policy on genetically engineered food. Web.

American. (2008). Genetically modified food. Web.

Carroll, A. (2008). Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Fimrite, P. (2010). Environmentalists fight bioengineered seafood plan. Web.

Herring, M. (2006). Genetic engineering. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Mothers. (n.d.). What are the dangers?

Sustainable. (n.d.). Genetic engineering. Web.

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Telegraph. (2011). Genetically modified cows produce human milk. Web.

The independent. (2008). Exposed: the great GM crops myth.

Twin. (2002). Third World Network Biosafety Information Service. Web.