Genetically Modified Food: Safety and Regulations

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Genetic modification is breaking and combining DNA elements to generate new DNA molecules that produce a new range of genetic information on foods and plants. Genetic modification or recombination of foods and crops can take place between related or unrelated DNA molecules. Genetic recombination of food engages the inclusion of genes from humans, fish, insects, bacteria, and plants into the DNA molecules of crops. Genetic reengineering is mostly carried out in agricultural plants (Amin & Hamdan, 2011). The outcome of this process of recombination is a GMO (genetically modifies organism) (Amin & Hamdan, 2011). Some direct and precise outcomes of genetic recombination, when applied in agricultural produce, are known, but most permanent and general causes on the environment and human safety are still under investigation.

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Scientists concur that genetic recombination of food can provide direct and indirect health benefits to users. The main benefit of genetic engineering is that it enhances the dietetic quality of foods, such as golden rice and maize. It also decreases the incidence of toxic elements, such as cassava with a minimal amount of cyanide (Roullier & Cellier, 2009). Genetic recombination reduces allergens in some foods, such as wheat, barley, and groundnuts and improves the content available in foods. However, it is significant to illustrate that nutritionally significant amounts of vitamins and other food elements are nutritionally offered and genetically performed in new products, which contain no unplanned effects. Indirect health benefits include the decrease in usage of pesticides, reduce the incidence of mycotoxins brought about by disease or insect, and raised accessibility of inexpensive food. It also eliminates toxic elements from agricultural soil that affects plant growth (Roullier & Cellier, 2009). These direct and indirect advantages should be appreciated.

Examples of foods that have undergone genetic modification and are available in most supermarkets and retail shops are golden rice, maize, oilseed rape, and soybean. These foods have been approved to be safe and healthy for human use and consumption. The methods applied to assess and test these genetically modified foods are acceptable. These judgments represent the agreement of the scientific facts reviewed by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and are compatible with the observations of the WHO (Maghari & Ardekani, 2011). The significant food safety issues merged with genetically recombined foods and products founded on them are about the likelihood of raised toxins, allergens, or other unsafe elements. They also relate to horizontal gene exchange especially if genes are antibiotics resistant. Another concern addresses other harmful unplanned effects attributed to genetic engineering. Most of these issues also refer to crop varieties produced through conventional breeding techniques and planted based on ordinary farming methods. Most identified human allergens are made up of protein elements. This means that the inclusion of new protein molecules into food production through genetic recombination increases valid alarm regarding the possibility of allergenic conditions. Some people may assert that combining genes from various food supplies could raise the potential of extra food allergies (Amin & Hamdan, 2011).

Labeling genetically recombined foods is among the essential regulatory requirements. Most countries have demanded the labeling of these products since consumers should be allowed the right to create defined selections to safeguard their health. Although labeling has been used to identify the products, it is necessary for helping consumers choose foods based on the methods of production, religious framework, ethical methods, and environmental reasons.

Most people have consumed genetically modified products daily. It is projected that almost 60% of foods accessible in supermarkets and retail shops have a certain quantity of genetically recombined components (Maghari & Ardekani, 2011). Examples of foods or products in supermarkets are golden rice, tomatoes, maize, oilseed rape, and sweet corn products.

The well-known types of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are applied to produce crops that cannot be affected by insects and are unaffected by herbicides. These include genetically modified cotton, oilseed rape, soybean, and maize arrays, but human health threats related to this common process are allergic responses to the relocated protein components. Moreover, it is hard to follow genetically recombined products because they do not appear different from foods that have not been recombined. Most authorities have implemented strict regulations for genetically modified foods and animals products. Genetically recombined products can only be permitted in the European Union if they have gone through a thorough safety evaluation. It intends that the genetic reengineered product or food labels be inserted next to the lists of ingredients during the packaging of foods that contain elements of GM products (Amin & Hamdan, 2011). To safeguard developing countries, GM exports are allowed only to those that have been approved by the United States and approved by the receiving country.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that genetically modified foods have certain importance to human health, although opponents argue that they can cause health hazards, such as cancer and allergic conditions. However, insufficient facts about the negative effects of GM do not signify that these processes are without health hazards. The likelihood of long-term effects from these recombined crops cannot be expelled and should be assessed regularly. Most people have been eating these genetically recombined foods, such as oilseed rape, soybean, maize, sweet corn, and tomatoes, without any noticed severe or unpleasant effects.

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References

Amin, L., & Hamdan, F. (2011). Risks and benefits of genetically modified foods. African Journal of Biotechnology, 10(58): 12481-12485.

Maghari, B., & Ardekani, A. (2011). Genetically Modified Foods and Social Concerns. Avicenna Journal of Medical Biotechnology, 3(3): 1-9.

Roullier, F., & Cellier, D. (2009). A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 5(7): 706-726.

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