Genetically modified foods, also known as GMO’s (or genetically engineered organisms), are biologically altered foods in which scientists isolate the desired gene from one plant, animal or organism and intertwine it into another. By doing so, scientists hope to achieve a particular benefit such as increased crop yield, resistance to herbicides and pesticides, resistance to disease or drought tolerance.
Although the Recombinant DNA technology or genetic engineering, the process behind the production of all these, is seen to be a potential tool for enhancing food quality and crop yield, genetically modified foods have several negative effects on our overall health and the environment. The following are just some of these harmful effects:
1. Allergic Reactions:
In humans, one of the most common side-effects of consuming GM foods is allergic reactions. According to a paper by the Brown University, recent genetically modified foods can pose significant allergy risks to susceptible individuals. The allergic reactions can occur when a certain protein called ‘allergen’ which is present in the GM crop enters the human body and stimulates an immune response. The proposal for production of a GM soya bean containing Brazil nut protein was abandoned after an unexpected allergic reaction came into light from the study in The New England Journal of Medicine.
2. Carcinogenic properties:
A study conducted by a consultant histopathologist, Dr. Stanley Ewen at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, says that food and water contaminated with genetically engineered material could increase the growth of malignant tumors upon contact with humans. Dr. Ewen raised the concern by giving an example of a cauliflower virus which when used in GM foods could increase the risk of stomach and colon cancers.
Lower Nutritional Values:
As genetic engineering tends to focus more on increasing their production, enhancing their lifespan and ability to deter pest, some GM foods are known to be void of nutritional values. A study published in the journal Food Chemistry states that organic soybeans are far higher in nutritional components such as sugar, proteins, and selenium than genetically modified soybeans.
Reduced Antibiotic Ability:
According to a research conducted by Iowa State University, some genetically modified foods have antibiotic features that are built into them, making them resistant or immune to viruses or diseases. When these GM foods are consumed, these antibiotic markers will persist in our body and will render actual antibiotic medications less effective.
Many GM food proponents claim that genetically modified foods are safe for the environment. However, they actually still contain several kinds of substances which are not yet proven to be such. One of the major effects concerning GM crops is toxicity. Some crops possess a gene that can produce certain protein toxins that effectively destroy pests and insects. These genes are inserted to a crop to make it more resistant to pests. Injection of too many toxins in the soil can prevent the growth of bacteria essential for plant growth. As a result, the soil can become void of all necessary nutrients. Moreover, the production of GM foods imposes high risks to the disruption of biodiversity.
Although GM foods can help in increasing yields and reducing reliance on chemical pesticides and herbicides, it is important to proceed with caution to avoid unfavorable consequences for the surroundings and our health, considering that genetic engineering technology is very powerful.
So, in order to make sure that the food you’re buying is non-GM, head straight over to My Green Mart to buy organic, exotic and non-GM products online.
You can also visit the MyGreen Mart retail outlet at Shop No B-7, Jaidev Apartment, Gondwana Square, Byramji Town, Nagpur and pick your own assured organic groceries.
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