October 14, 2013
Genetically Modified Foods
“Do not smell that cigarettes. That is poisonous”, my classmate warned me at CRC campus. At that moment, I couldn’t figure out what exactly poison is. Does it harm my health and cause death? My friend’s warning pushed me to do research about it. According to Medical Guidelines, poisoning is defined as injury or impairment of organ function or death by any substance capable of producing adverse effects. Poisoning can be acute or chronic. A poison can have local and systemic effects and can be divided into those intended for human use like foods and their additives, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, and cosmetics, and those that are not like household products, industrial chemicals, and agricultural products. One of the most common factors that relates directly to our health is food. Obviously, we can’t live without it, but food is also a main cause of poison to harm our health. In the United States, most Americans consume genetically modified food as daily meals. According to the World Health Organization, genetically modified foods (GMOs) used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. The enhancement of desired traits has traditionally been undertaken through breeding, but conventional plant breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very precise. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy. For example, plant geneticists can isolate a gene responsible for drought tolerance and insert that gene into a different plant. The new genetically-modified plant will gain drought tolerance as well. Not only can genes be transferred from one plant to another, but genes from non-plant organisms also can be used. From this definition compared to the definition of poison, genetically modified food is not poisonous to human beings in terms of pest resistance, and nourishing.
The first advantage of genetically modified food is pest resistance. Along with growing plants, insects and pests are friends of corp. Most corps loses from insects and pests which is resulting devastation and financial loss for farmers in developing countries. According to Bresding Aim, the insects destroy about 25% of food crop in the world each year. To deal with that problem, famers typically use tons of chemical pesticides annually. Obviously, costumers do not wish to consume contaminated food that has been treated with pesticides because of health dangers. Growing genetically modified foods such as golden rice can help farmers to eliminate the usage of chemical pesticides to produce healthy products.. In the article “Insect – Resistant GM Rice in Famers’ Fields: Processing Productivity and Health Effect in China”, a group of agriculturalists made a testing on the using of an insect – resistant GMO rice by choosing 101 households (32 non-adopters. 53 partial adopters, and 16 full adopters) in this testing. The numerators, using producer recall interviewing technique, collected information on inputs and outputs for all the plots where the farmers produced rice plus detailed information on pesticide use. The survey obtained the data from 347 rice production plots including 123 plots planted with GMO rice and 224 plots of non-GMO rice. The result pointed that both of two products were nearly identical, but the level of pesticide use is a main different. GMO rice farmers use the same type of pesticide but apply less than once per season (0.5 times) compared with 3.7 times per season of non-GMO rice. Moreover, non-GMO rice production is eight to ten times higher than the level of pesticide use of GMO rice. Importantly, GMO rice product deducts up to 80 percent of using pesticide use compared to GMO rice one. Importantly, genetically modified foods are nutritious. In the third world, malnutrition is very common that impoverished people rely on a single crop like rice for the main meal of their diet. However, regular rice does not contain all necessary nutrients to prevent iron or vitamin A deficiencies. Deficiencies vitamin A and iron will cause vision problem and even blindness. With genetically modified rice, it will contain additional vitamins and minerals to avert malnutrition. Dr. Ingo Potrykus has created Golden rice – genetically modified which is capable of producing beta-carotene in the grain that produces vitamin A and iron. In the article, “B-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as Beta-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children1-4”, Guangwen Tang and his colleagues has survey in a group of 68 Chinese children aged six to eight years were fed GMO golden rice, spinach, and administered a given amount of Beta-carotene blood sample were analyzed to determine how much of the Beta-carotene was actually being extracted from the blood or the oil, and the latter is known to be the most effective way to present Vitamin A to the human organism. The result was that golden rice Beta-carotene provides Vitamin A (0.6mg) better than pure Beta-carotene rice (0.5mg). A bowl of 100 – 150g cooked golden rice might provide 60% of the Chinese Recommended Nutrition Intake of Vitamin A of six to eight year old children.
Generally, GMOs is not as bad as we thought. They are beneficial and hassle resistance. A group of Scientists in the article of “Identification of a Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans” concluded that using GMO soybeans – 2S abulmin from Brazil nuts gets positive skin allergy. That concern lets us think of genetically modified foods more often. However, being allergic does not mean due to genetically modified foods. Before GMOs products are produced, they are tested carefully. But the risk is coming, and we do not know how long term-effects can attack to our health. Furthermore, allergy is the combination of not only the kind of food but seasonal allergy, pet allergy, or even cosmetic allergy. Medical Technician said “we have enough knowledge about the protein and where it's been introduced, how we've been exposed to it in our food supply in other ways without danger, to have confidence that this is a safe food now."