Genetic Modified Food

Genetic modification of organisms in general is a
biotechnological process that forces genes to
behave according to certain characteristics.
Changing characteristics of organisms is based on
changing their DNA (tech deoxyribonucleic acid;
the acid which carries genetic information in a
cell). It is being used for modifying genes in plants,
animals or micro-organisms. It is being also used
especially with food in order to improve the
nutritious quality, make less use of chemicals such
as pesticides, which proved to be extremely
harmful, and sometimes to add flavour. Genetically
modified food (GMF) is considered one of the
modern production improvements and the largest
food experiments in the world’s history. However,
it is very vital to dispel misconception about the
nature of food. GMF is a mixed blessing which
has a lot of benefits but at the same time may
arouse problems. It has many good aspects, such
as making plants ripen faster, improving the
specie’s taste and look, and providing Third
World countries with healthier and cheaper food.
Genetic modification of food has won the
admiration of a lot of people, including myself,
because of its new and attractive
accomplishments, but at the same time we should
take into consideration its disadvantages and try to
find ways to avoid them. Genetically modified
foodstuffs have several disadvantages which I
believe are possibly avoidable through research
and experiments. Most of the time, the sale of
GMFs is being permitted without posing the risks
and without informing the public with the possible
danger. This of course is a violation of human
rights which can Nagi2 easily be avoided by
simply informing consumers of the characteristics
of the product. When genetic engineers insert new
genes into any organism, it can lead to disruption
and unpredictable changes in the pattern and
structure of the new genetic function. "In fact, the
process of inserting genes is quite random and can
damage normal genes " (Genetic Engineered Food
- A Serious Health Risk 3). Therefore, harmful
substances may appear unexpectedly and can
possibly create viruses and new dangerous
diseases. Therefore, it is the obligation of experts
to examine GM products before making them
available to the public in order to avoid
undesirable diseases. A common example is, when
some people who are allergic to certain kinds of
food such as fish eat genetically modified products
such as tomatoes which were injected with genes
similar to these fish, they get easily affected by
allergens. Also, GMFs might contain toxins, which
may negatively affect human beings. An
experiment run on rats by feeding them with GM
potatoes affected their digestive tracks caused
changes in some of their organ weights and caused
adverse effects on their immune system(south
pacific consumer protection programme1). Such
experiments show the importance of thoroughly
examining GM products and making sure of their
safety on humans. In addition to that, there are
long-term effects with reasons not yet identified.
That could also be avoided by further research
and continued experiments. GMF is now entering
the market with an increasing rate. Products
include tomatoes, corn, potatoes and soybeans. A
main problem is that the issue of labelling these
products is not yet widely used. Most developed
countries have adopted laws Nagi 3 that require
product labelling of ingredients, fats, vitamin,
protein and carbohydrate. These nutrition
information provides consumers with a level of
awareness and choice. Similarly, GMF producers
are obliged to label their products. They have to
provide their customers with all necessary
information about the produce. This is the least
that could be done to preserve the rights of
consumers to know and decide for themselves.
Labelling is then one possible choice that could
help in avoiding some of the GMFs dangers.
People have the right to know if the food they are
consuming is genetically modified whether it is a
matter of health, preference or just a matter of
taste" Surveys consistently find that 85-90 % of
consumers want clear labelling of all genetically
engineered foods"(Genetic Engineered Food- A
Serious Health Risk 2). Moreover, it is necessary
to label food if the nutritional content is changed.
Take tomatoes for example; they are a source of
Vitamin C, but if through modification they lose
this characteristic (Vitamin C ), consumers
definitely have the right to know. The wrong
treatment of GM crops may cause several
environmental risks. It was proved that GM crops
are easy to grow in most kinds of soils. They can
grow in land that is prone to drought or erosion in
addition to soils with highly salt acid conditions.
They are also capable of growing in changing
climates( Genetically Modified food 4). This of
course makes it easier to grow GM crops than
growing natural crops. Unfortunately, this
advantage is widely misused. Usually, farmers are
aware of the tolerance of GM crops to herbicides
(a chemical substance used to kill herbs), so they
overuse herbicides. This of course harms the