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Genetic Engineering of Food

Throughout the United States and the rest of the globe, genetically engineered food products are becoming increasingly used in agricultural and manufactured food goods. Because of the increase of genetically altered foods, an increasing population has become hesitant to accept the products and agriculture derived from genetic engineering. The large increase in genetically engineered foods has proved to have adverse effects health effects on humans. These health risks are becoming increasingly common as we continue to genetically alter foods.

The main health concerns of genetic modification include virus spread, antibiotic resistance, and allergen effects. Genetic modification should stop and organic farming should be used instead for the future health of the planet. Provided evidence will support the claim that, genetically engineered food will have lasting effects on the population, the health in each of the provided categories will decline, and world hunger will actually increase with the high amounts of genetically altered food products.

Genetically modified foods are altered through inserting foreign genes or chromosomes to receive a desired trait or effect in the plant. According to Lappee and Bailey (1998) the most common form of genetic modification the chromosomes inside the nucleus which contains the blueprint information for building the plant or fruit. A genetic engineer will identify the chromosome which of the desired trait, which they wish to alter. Inserted into the DNA strand of the chromosome is a gene that the team wishes to modify. Along with the gene is a marker gene which scientists can use to locate the new gene.

Together the team of genes is called an insertion package and together they create a completely different complex of a very similar fruit (p. 26-27). Grogan and Long (2000) provide that Of the 50 or so genetically engineered plants currently cleared by the government for use, most fall into two basic categories: plants engineered to include their own pesticide, a toxin produced by the BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacterium, and the plants engineered to survive weed killers, including the so-called Roundup Ready soybeans and cotton (p. 96).

Virus spread is a substantial issue of genetic engineering. Viruses are introduced into modified plants in order to designate specific wants from the geneticist. Spread through the infected genetically engineered species. Geneticists implant genes into the modified plant and sometimes it involves a strand of virus. The virus has the potential risk of introducing an epidemic, so far not many cases of viral spread have arisen, but these plants have the potential to reintroduce controlled viruses.

The Cauliflower Mosaic virus is placed in most current genetically engineered agriculture (www. nside. org). Experimentation has found that the virus has the ability to cross species and infect neighboring crops. The Cauliflower mosaic virus also has the potential to create new strands of virus. Viruses are commonly used for tasks unrelated to the quality of the food and dont need to be in vegetables. Genetic engineering has recently been blamed for new emergence of viruses responsible for reemerging cases of tuberculosis, cholera and malaria and emergence of the Aids, Ebola and Hepatitis C viruses (www. twnside. org).

Other emerging viruses less known but still potentially lethal which are very young to us these include Monkey Pox, Hanta virus and Infectious Bursal Disease Virus (www. twnside. org). A few of the viruses proposed to be introduced for genetic modification include the rabies virus added to tomatoes to act as a low cost vaccine and the African scorpion virus which is still to be fully understood (eagle. westnet. gr) These viruses have the potential of creating a global epidemic of disease. The plants are introduced at phenomenal rates and the public is unaware of what the food they are consuming truly contains.

The next health issue related to genetically modified foods is the introduction of allergens through cross breeding food crops with similar characteristics. The introduction of genes from unrelated plant species has the potential of creating an allergen from the introduced gene. The problem is on a larger scale for children, since children are unaware of most of their allergens some may be detrimentally effective to human health. The worst possible scenario is death from the allergen, but very rarely to the modified food companies allow the product to reach the shelves of grocery stores.

If the products do reach store shelves they must inform the consumer what introduced gene the product contains; only it is considered to be a well established allergen. Although some of the potential allergens are well established, many are not well known and the side effects are extremely difficult to predict. The most famous case of an introduced allergen was a gene strand from a brazil nut which was inserted in the gene structure of a soy bean brand. The allergen was detected before the product reached the market but the effects of the allergen could have resulted in a sudden death in unknowing consumers.

Although food allergens are common in several foods, the introduction of foreign genes, viruses and allergens might have effects, we are not yet ready to handle. The main concern of allergic reaction is in children, and the range of allergic reaction ranges from a mild itching to a potentially fatal shock. At the present our fruits and vegetables are not being labeled, so there is no way to tell genetically modified foods from those, which have not been altered. In the future resulting reactions may require mandatory labeling on genetically modified foods.

The final health risk from genetically modified foods is antibiotic resistance. Antibodies are commonly used in modified foods either as an insecticide or as a resistance from other invasion. The gene traits antibodies are grown in a petri dish, and a marker gene is inserted with the desired trait in order to aid the plant in helping it accept the foreign gene. The main concern of using antibodies in so many different species is a fear that either the invading insects will gain resistance to the insecticide. Another major concern is that antibiotics will no longer aid in recovery to sickness.

In the future antibiotics may be found in every fruit and vegetable we consume. The main concern of antibiotics not having effects in humans is in the case that an individual is taking antibiotics and in the stomach the antibiotic from the food product and the prescription form will mix, rendering one of the antibiotics useless. The only way to avoid the health risks of genetically modified foods is not to consume them. Without buying organic produce, there is no way for the consumer to make a judgment on whether or not what they are eating has been genetically modified.

Lapp and Bailey (1998) reproduce the side of the government when stating In the FDAs view, since no significant difference exists between those transgenic and normally cultivated foods, no special notification is needed. Such a lack of discrimination invites the public to consider genetically altered foods as safe as non-altered products (p. 77). Foods do not need to contain the elements genetic modification has added to fruits and vegetables. The only way to avoid this forthcoming future is for consumers to take a stand and deny foods containing, viruses, bacteria, antibodies and insecticides that do not need to be in the foods.

The solution I propose is to create ecological gardens with a web of animal life to create much healthier plants that dont carry risks to your personal health. Organic farming is the solution I propose this form of farming uses all-natural supplements which make the consumer happy to be eating them instead of uneasy about what they are eating, as with genetically modified foods. Organic farming doesnt need much explaining, because it is all natural and not a modification of it.

Genetically modified foods will not solve the problem of world hunger, because people assume that the modified foods are going to the countries in need. Genetic engineering firms create their seeds for profit and not the good of the people. In order to create a healthier more rewarding quality of life, the public should know what they are consuming and what the possible outcome of consumption of food they are eating could be. For the good of the nation and the world it is important for people to know, that they dont have to eat what corporate business wants them to.

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