Tuesday, 24 April 2012

GM Food

In recent year, the safety of genetically modified foods to human has been a controversial topic. There are many articles about the pros and cons of genetically modified foods and their acceptability. Genetically modified foods are foods acquire from genetically modified organisms. It involves in the removal and addition of genes by genetic engineering techniques. Most genetically modified foods are transgenic plants such as corns, soybeans, vegetables and fruits. Modified animal products have also been developing these years like pig meat. It is argued strongly that should genetically modified organisms in food be all listed out on the package for references, and the value of testing the safety of modified food.

Genetically modified foods have many advantages physically and environmentally. First of all, modified foods are more resistance to pests and herbicides, and contain more nutrients. The University of Arizona (2003) had conducted a research that shows modified cotton plant contains a toxin which kills pink bollworm. The higher the pest resistance, the fewer the herbicides are added to the food and cause less harmful to human body. Modified foods are also malnutrition so different nutrition can be presented in one food for people to absorb easily, especially those countries where food is not enough for their citizens. For instance, “Golden Rice” has been manufactured for resolving children blindness as it contains Vitamin A (Nottingham, 2003). Besides, planting genetically modified foods consume less land as they are able to grow under unfavorable conditions. Less land are used for agriculture but for production, causing less landfill, deforestation and other environmental destructions.

However, genetically modified foods have couples of disadvantages on safety and ethics. Modified foods can harm human as there is no test to prove they are safe. It can cause allergens and toxin. As the genes are changed inside modified foods, people cannot identify the potential allergens to the food. A Brazil nut had been withdrawn from the shelves as it caused allergic reaction (Nordlee, 1996). The new genes in modified foods are unknowns which may produce toxic to animals, plants and humans. On the other hand, genetically modified foods have been a moral issue since they exist. Some people believe that humans do not have the right to create or destroy life, as every organism is equal in the world. Modified foods have violated this ethic due to the changes of genes. They also mix up the nature as they combine the genes of different species together.

In conclusion, genetically modified foods are benefits to humans as they are more resistance to pest and herbicides, and contain more nutrients. Besides, they can save land for other uses to prevent environmental damages. At the same time, genetically modified foods also bring humans harm. They pose menace to humans’ safety by causing allergens and toxin. Moreover, they challenge the ethical issue of some religious as they violate the belief of equality among the world. Genetically modified foods will be a hot focus continuously, and it is important for human to work hard on this topic to outweigh its benefits and reduce controversies.

Nordlee, J., 1996, ‘Identification of a Brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans’, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 334, p. 688-692.

Nottingham, S., 2003, Eat Your Genes, 2nd edn, Zed Books Ltd, London and New York.

University Of Arizona, 2003, Pest Resistance In Genetically Modified Crops Decoded, sited in ScienceDaily, viewed 3 March 2012, <http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2003/04/030421083241.htm>

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