Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)

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Food is a very important nutrition to the body for its functioning and generally for support. It is normally from plants or animals and they contain the necessary nutrients that the body require, some of the nutrients include; carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats. After it is taken by a living thing, then it is assimilated by the cells of the organism so as to maintain life, produce energy and stimulate growth.

A food chain that sustains the human being is grouped into; organic, industrial or alternative food that we normally forage. Our taste for certain flavours is clearly reflected on our inheritance of flavour (Nierenberg 2005). It is therefore, paramount that we watch what we eat and how we eat it in order to prevent some diseases that are caused by some of these foods that we consume. We should be willing to check on our diet because with the wrong diet, we are not able to function effectively in our everyday chores.

Pollan in the answer to his question of what we should have for diner has different perspectives of implications. Some of the implications can be economic, political or even psychological.  The pleasure of eating should be changed in order to suit the favorable and decent ways of living. Scientists argue that the need for genetically modification food in the world is because of the need for food sustainability in the world

Genetic modification involves a process of deletion or insertion of genes in food substances (Flachowsky 40). This method requires several essential factors like the promoters and means, in which the gene can be stopped. For quite some time, there has existed an economic war that broke out to own equity in firms that have means to regulate not only GMOs but the vast extents of human food deliveries. This has remained the behind-the-scenes factor for some of the major and rapid agrichemical firms’ mergers in history (Environmental Protection Agency).

Therefore, if you have lately taken a soya sauce from a restaurant, munched popcorns in a movie theatre, or in occasional chocolate bar, you have certainly eaten these new innovations of foods I am talking about. At that instant, one should have known the composition of these foods in regard to how much fat, salt and carbohydrates contained in them. What is not known therefore is whether these foodstuffs have had every cell genetically changed.

Every day there is news of another ideal diet, wonder-nutrient, or toxic in the food chain. Vegetable oils go from being hydrogenated to butter (modern alternatives) to a public health risk. Food marketers bombard us with communication that this or that food is “healthy” or add to good “mental function” (whatever that means). After a while this foods disappear from dinner tables across which is a sign of a nation experiencing a collective eating disorder.

Due to unstable culture of food guideline, the omnivore’s dilemma has turned on us with vengeance. Most common foods in our diet originate from nature and several food chains exist with the biggest and most significant food chain that feeds most of us most of the time based on a small number of plants notably corn. All foods that are eaten have their originating from plants. 

Legal approach

In 1980s, the United States agricultural industry began a dramatic study of advanced molecular biological research. It was unclear whether the study was to involve a wide variety of products. The administration of President Reagan decided to draft new regulation frameworks based on the old statutes. However, the frameworks brought in some doubting challenges. The existing statutes were old and more unfit for modern technology, and it required much effort to twist them into the required shape. The statutes that were hence introduced dealt with drugs, food, plant pests, new chemicals and pesticides (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee). New rules have continuously been made, but overall, they have created a contorted and often weak system of administration.

For example, the Food Drugs Administration (FDA) is mandated to oversee the genetical modification of GMOs under a voluntary consulting program. Still, it is the companies that decide on whether or not to consult on the safety matters or if there is any data to submit. However, the engineering foods are not subjected to the rigorous process of safety as required by law. Finally, the consultation ends, but not with the FDA’s approval, but with a statement from the company that they have discovered a safe engineering crop, and the agency cannot ask further questions about it. On the other hand, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandated to ensure that the strongest regulations are maintained. However, its authority is only on a selected subset of Biotech crops, especially the ones that can be categorized as pesticides.

Philosophical issues and Environmental issue

The hybridization phenomenon has worked excellently in the commercial realm and has been a major application of the Gene Theory. Just the way factories are created with the aim of maximizing profits, the assumption is that living organisms can also be created in the same principle. What is wrong now is the advancement in genetical engineering (Maessen, 18). It is with no doubt that, with this process, there is a situation where the conscious life of organisms will be manipulated (Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration). To understand this we have to use an analogy. When biotechnology is used, roses are not crossed with roses but rather different organisms are mated with others.

For example, butterflies are mated with worms, tomatoes with oak trees, while orchids are mated with snakes. This process essentially introduces a violent chemical reaction that alters the nuclear membrane of the cells. If this technology is allowed to spread, there will be widespread externality in the world, such as the spread of cancer-related diseases. For instance, in the 1950s, few people agreed that chemical pollution could be a global environmental harm, but today 30% of all species are threatened with extinction.

Commercial standards

Nowadays, there are over fifty genetically modified crops that are commercially allowed in the United States. Herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant crops are among those that have succeeded in the market. Some virus-related crops like papaya and squash are cultivated on a small scale. However, most products found in the markets are not commercially modified for food crop. These include the first genetically modified food crops like altered oil canola and other engineered tomatoes and several BT crops. The BT and HT crops have gained more popularity in the US farming and have been adopted in large scale.

Public awareness

The public has the right of full disclosure of the type and quality of products they are about to buy. There should be enough information about genetically modified foods so that every consumer can be aware of the level of danger he/she is being subjected to. Some of the reasons that make manufacturers and marketers fail to reveal the required information is:

  • Difficulties in evaluating the safety level of food substances in the case of a single chemical or drug. Food substances are more complex to identify their composition as they vary in agronomic and growing conditions.
  • There are few publications available for toxicity of genetically modified foods. We, therefore, find a consumer supplied with so many options of GM substances, but the data that is available is not sufficient. Currently, the toxic level is tested by chemical analysis of the micro and macro nutrients. However, better methods are needed in order to supply the users with adequate information.

Unknowingly, a consumer can take these foods and develop metabolism problems. On this note, better methods are needed to screen the harmful consequences of human and animal health before releasing any genetically modified crops into the consumption food chain.

Conclusion

It has been said that the engineered crops have saved the world against the danger of hunger epidemics, but we are left with more problems than solutions regarding the future of this trend. Since not every consumer is opt to consume the GMO substances, the manufacturers should have a way of creating awareness to them, either by providing full information about the product, or proper labeling of these products. The efficacy in commercial production should not be assumed, but should be fully tested to determine the exponential increase in GM development and research. By neglecting constructively to find the future position of GMOs, we may be inventing another problem like the current environmental conservation problem. Crop engineers and their host companies should follow the rules and regulations set aside by the government to enhance the safety of their end users, other than the rush to declare crop inventions that will finally be a world catastrophe.

We should be concerned about the details of the things that we ingest into our bodies. We should turn to foods that are friendly to the functioning of our bodies and that do not exert a lot of pressure to our environment. The relationship between the human consumption and the environment is cyclic. We depend on the environment for food and for our well being because without food, we cannot live. The environment depends on us for its survival too. If we do not take good care of the environment that we live in, then it will degenerate and in turn we will not have enough food to consume. For development in any nation, there should be food security. Food is the most basic component of human motivation to work. It gives the energy and the necessary support to the body conducive for its survival. Any developed country gives priority to the welfare of its people in terms of food. Availability of food brings peace and harmony to a nation. The government of any country should however, put priority to food security for its sustainable development.

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