Are Genetically Engineered Foods Really Safe Biology Essay

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What do a Corn and Soybean in processed foods well-known with? They are every part of several of the most universally genetically modified foods sold in the United States grocery stores in the present day. Through extraction of genetic information from one organism, and inserting it into another or transforming it into desirable traits, biotechnologists have been able to formulate food crops that; remain much fresher thus have a longer shelf life, are fortified with more nutrients, and are pest as well as disease resistant. All the same, the expertise to transform genes has outshined its practicality, for the reason that, these food crops contain gene sequences that have up to tomorrow never been seen in nature. It is very possible that these food crops are just a time bomb that could cause detrimental adverse effects in our society. The global community has been turned into guinea pigs to the trials of these foods which is unacceptable, as we don't know the really consequences and how to combat them if they may take place (Edwards 24-26).

1.2 Purpose

Though some traits are desirable for the well-being of us human beings, genetically modified foods have since had bio-safety issues and thus must be detached from the conventional agriculture because of the hazard they present to the human and even other animals' health, our already fragile environment, and the undesirable effect on the global economy. This report is a précis of the results of genetically engineered foods not being really safe. The proposed indispensable precautions as well as legislative actions to protect human health and our environment against the use of genetically modified food will extend the awareness and importance of considering the matter solemnly.

1.3 Scope

This report provides information on the safety concerns involving genetically engineered/modified foods. It particularly looks at the risks associated with consumption of genetically engineered foods. Not analyzed in this report is the process of genetic engineering and the detailed scientific gene effects on human, other animals and the environment.


            Regarding this study, the researcher utilized existing secondary data, which comprised of articles from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers, that were generally concerned with genetically engineered foods not being really safe and its impact on human and the environment, as well as relevant literatures in order to meet the objectives of this study. 

2.1 Assumption:

The assumption made is that, genetically engineered foods are not really safe and in that case have detrimental effects on human beings, the environment and the economy at large.

3.0 Results and Discussions:

Genetically engineered foods may well generate new lethal substances, for instance a gene from the Brazil nut was introduced into a soybean plant to boost its nutritional value. Nevertheless, the gene inserted in the soybean produced a substance that causes allergic reactions in human beings. Luckily, the soybean was not put into production (McHughen 119). Also a genetically engineered tomato referred to as "FLAVR SAVR" has desirable traits that include being larger in size than other tomatoes, tastier, and keeps on being fresher longer than any other tomatoes on the market(Edwards 24-26). However, the most undesirable issue is that it's a product of a conventional tomato gene with these of an arctic trout. This raises a lot of hullabaloos since there are individuals who are allergic to sea food and who know that this amalgamation won't react to produce lethal pathogens. This makes the genetically engineered tomato to be a probable hazard to human health (McHughen 112).

In view of the fact that genetic engineering is a new-fangled technology, there is no hard evidence of establishing whether genetically engineered foods would have a positive impact on the human body and/or the environment. In 1989 a certain incident occurred, concerning the nutritional supplement L- Tryptophan is one way of testing the long-term effects of a genetically engineered food (Malterre 63). The manufacturer had apparently altered its manufacturing process to hasten up production, and had not realized the toxic side effects. it caused a potentially fatal illness called Eosinophilia Myolgia Syndrome in which some few people died and many more were permanently disabled. Therefore, it was taken off the market shortly after the reports of widespread illness among consumers of the supplements (Smith 22-23). Another two examples of diseases that have been created by genetically engineered crops are glufosinate (Hart 21), which causes birth defects in mammals, and glyphosate (Hart 88), which is now linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Therefore, it is evident that the general public is the guinea pig for genetically engineered food, and today's drugs may not be able to combat the diseases that may arise from eating the food.

Genetic engineering of food crops has the potential to affect the biodiversity of a region in effectively two ways. First, wild populations of weed may be replaced by genetically engineered crop/weed, due to the genetically engineered crop spreading outside the crop field and interacting with natural weed and slowly becoming genetically engineered weed. Since genetically engineered crops are produced to be resistant to pesticides and herbicides, there is the possibility that they could invade wild grasslands and other places and prosper because of these special characteristics (Smith 34). If this happened, the native grasses would be unable to compete and biodiversity would be lost in these regions. Also, many genetically engineered crops contain anti-viral genes and there is the potential that these genes could combine to form new and dangerous strains of viruses, which could destroy specific crops. Although, to date, there is no direct evidence of these occurring naturally, the potential is clearly increasing. The second way in which the biodiversity of a region is potentially affected is by the decreasing crop varieties that are being planted (Malterre 63). This is a problem already existing in agriculture today, and results in a loss of genetic variety within crop cultures. Farmers being forced to use only patented seeds are an example of a potential decrease in biodiversity. If traditional seed varieties are used, farmers will be at a financial disadvantage due to better tasting, better looking crops produced by farmers using genetically engineered seeds. In the U.S., and some other countries, laws have been passed and are currently in effect stating that the use of non-patented seeds is prohibited. This will restrict the crops to a few species, leaving them more at risk to new pests that may form

4.0 Conclusion

In general, genetically modified foods are not safe due to the following reasons: they trigger the emergence of new diseases due to the use of viruses and bacteria to modify some foods. These new diseases could be resistant to antibiotics, raise the risk of developing cancer, trigger food allergies as a result of a food that causes allergies in some people being placed in another organism, harm the ecosystem by removing a pest that could be an important source of food for another animal, be toxic to an organism and lead to its extinction. Therefore, they should not be at any cost recommended as of their negative effects in the body of human beings and the harm on the environment (Malterre 63).

5.0 Recommendations

Before genetically engineered foods are brought into the market thorough trials should be carried out in order to establish their short and long term effects on human beings and the environment. The bio-technicians should also consider the issue of bio-safety from the time they commence bio-engineering of the genes to come up with whatever traits they desire. In particular the government should be strict on the safety of its citizens, since some are being used like dummies for the scientific trials of the genetically engineered foods. Punitive measures should be enacted regardless of the status on anyone who doesn't practice bio-safety measures on the genetically engineered foods; this is more especially to the food processors who at times never inform the consumers of the contents of the food cans (Taylor et al 614-616).

Non-the-less, I don't see the rush for genetically engineered foods since we are not at the edge of another revolution, our soils are still fertile to produce foods that are safe this is , one hundred percent organic foods that are free of any harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to human beings and our already fragile environment. The only thing to do to avoid this time bomb is to utilize our environment for food production in a sustainable manner, thus keeping away from the genetically engineered foods. Indeed more research still needs to be undertaken to authenticate the safety issues of genetically engineered foods, all we have to do at the moment s to stay a kaput to our conventional food stuffs.