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Sinfully Delicious Dinner

Updated on January 23, 2012

Sinfully Delicious, Devilishly Good, Genetically Modified Foods Slicing Out Health Risks

Smell the aroma of mixed vegetables like sugar beets, squash, and onions grilling in butter and smothered in a beer battered sauce, or a succulent juicy chicken breast with a baked potato and broccoli, but the best part about this dinner that is on average around 580 calories or above. Is that with the assistance and the modifications from genetically modified organisms (GMO), your sinfully delicious dinner’s calories, haves been cut in half and the healthy side effects have increased. Health benefits of GMO is only one of the many positive side effects, therefore genetically modified organisms should be embraced in all aspects of our lives to help bring human health and, environmental health better.

What is there to know about genetically modified organisms are we really eating “Frankenfoods” with only one strand of DNA that is actually organic, and the rest made in a lavatory? GMOs are organisms that have had their DNA reconfigured by agriculture scientist. This process of biotechnology allows scientist to take specific genes and make them dominant, recessive, or even remove the gene completely. After doing this the seed is ready to be planted and from it, genetically modified organisms that are able to be consumed or used in holistic medicine are grown like regular crops. With the advantages of GMO, the food that is grown from transgenetic seeds are able to last longer before spoiling and are even more nutritionally inclined. Because produce and other foods would have a longer shelf life, the demand and the need to continuously produce, product at a fast pace will not be necessary. This means that the price of produce will decrease. And the original goal of making food more affordable, crop production smarter, and product’s shelf life longer. The crops that are currently on the market like corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, squash and papaya, are just a few of the many 365 million acres of crops grown in America since 2010. Crops that have been genetically modified are altered to resist short shelf life from herbicides and diseases that plants can contract from bugs. In a the article “Biotechnology” written by the FDA chimed in on this situation and they wrote the following

Insect resistance is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. GM crops that permanently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to diseases caused by such viruses, resulting in higher crop yields. Herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium conveying resistance to some herbicides. In situations where weed pressure is high, the use of such crops has resulted in a reduction in the quantity of the herbicides used (“Biotechnology”. 3)

The FDA is saying that BT is completely safe to eat and will not harm people. I do not understand why there are some people that are still afraid of GMO products. The FDA is a government organization that was put into action in the 1930’s. This was to make sure all of the foods are safe and up to regulations health codes before consumption. The FDA has strict rules that must be passed in order for production to be take place. This standard also spreads into medical vaccines and machinery. With GMO The FDA said it is not necessary for the label to indicate that you are about to eat a GMO crop if the DNA changes are not stifling or major to the organic food then there is no need of GMO mentioning in the label.

With the crop’s new enhancements, there may be new allergens which may make usual food like corn possibly harmful to people. Dr. Marc Lappe wrote these words in The Journal of Medical Foods entitled, “Genetically Modified Foods”

Unpredictable gene expression may result in the unanticipated toxic effects of allergies. We have indisputable evidence that genetically engineered foods may produce serious, even fatal, allergic reactions. My study published in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that individuals who were allergic to Brazil nuts suffered the same allergic reaction when they consumed genetically engineered soybeans that contain Brazil nut genes. Under normal circumstances, consumers manage food allergies by avoiding those foods they know will cause allergic reactions. If genetically engineered foods are not labeled with the source of the foreign genes, consumers will not be able to identify these potential allergens.

Dr. Marc Lappe also discovered genetically modified soybeans were equipped with 12-14% less phystoestrogens than organic soybeans. Just because he is a doctor we cannot take his word on his studies that he performed. He never said what kind of doctor he is, for all we know he could be foot doctor showing that he may know little to nothing about the topic. And just because he said he has indisputable evidence meant nothing to the reader because he never showed the evidence beyond one example with Brazil nuts. Stating that some allergic reactions could be fatal is his way of trying to stir up drama. All allergic reactions could be fatal when left untreated. More importantly because nut allergens are a major allergy here in the states the FDA will require the company to list the new contents of the GMO. The FDA said the company must list the new content of the GMO if it poses a allergy threat or has made major changes to the original DNA of the organism.

This fact causes concern for some people because phystoestrogens fight off heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Dr. Lappe also said “Foods that have been engineered for a longer shelf-life may also exhibit counterfeit freshness. Genetic engineering may mislead consumers into buying fruits and vegetables that have the appearance of ripeness, without the accompanying nutritional quality or flavor (Lappe, 8).” But the most important thing is that Dr. Lappe forgot to include is the fact that just as easily new allergens are produced, these same allergens can just as easily be removed. He scrutinizes the counter fit freshness and color of GMO crops he must not have taken time to think about other things that “exhibit counterfeit freshness or color” for example Slim Jim, Beef Jerky, Colombo, nectarine, and may other snacks and foods. Doctor Jennifer Schmidt author of Health Professionals Hold Positive Attitudes Toward Biotechnology and Genetically Engineered Food weighed in on the situation, she declared;

Genetic manipulation can be used to address nutrition-related disease risks that are associated with consumption of particular nutrients. An example would be the engineering of soybeans high in oleic acid…created by suppression of the normal catalytic reaction of oleic acid … This process, has immense potential to decrease the hydrogenated fat consumption of many Americans, thereby positively affecting the nationwide incidence of cardiovascular disease (Schmidt, 40-47).

So not only are the GMO good for your body but also for the surrounding environment, it is a win, win situation.

Dr. Lappe’s study also mentioned that there is a possibility the GMO crop’s DNA is able to spread its information to neighbors and creating mutant weeds that are harder to kill and dispose. With more and more GMO in the fields being grown it is killing insects like crickets, spiders, and butterflies are dying due to the lack of pollen being produced because they are being modified to include herbicide tolerance. These GMO herbicide tolerant crops are created to withstand pesticides and chemical herbicides. Lappe’s concern is more practical and sensible when compared to the absurd allegations that Josie L. Domingo, author of Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants stated, she writes

The World Health Organization indicates that gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern, if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health, which would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes used creating GMO, where to be transferred. Although intact foreign DNA is not thought to be available for transfer into human cells, there is a remote possibility that DNA fragments may be taken up by bacteria in the gut (Domingo, 6).

Domingo is thinking that the genes from these transgenetic foods will somehow morph and fuse into human DNA. Even though I am not a doctor it sounds completely unreasonable that the food that we eat will fuse into my DNA. This is not the X Men or the Twilight sagas; I could not even begin to believe this because if her allegations were true then we would have millions of different pieces of DNA from everything we have consumed from birth. As for Dr. Lappe the solution to the death of beautiful insects like butterflies and the growth of mutant weeds can easily be fixed, more flowers could be grown around the fields of GMO crop lands. To avoid X Men mutant weeds the farmers could lay down what is called “garden carpet”. Which is environmentally friendly and keeps weeds from growing up in the garden where they are not wanted, thus will solve the problem of pesky mutant weeds.

On your own land and property I think you should be able to grow what you want and do what you want as long as it is not illegal or politically incorrect like putting up signs with inappropriate words on them. Likewise farms have the same idea their slogan is “privately own GMO grown”, for those of them that grow GMO crops on their privately own soil. The fight is on between farmer and retailer; Because some retailers are concerned about buying secretly GMO produce they are turning to World Health Organization (WHO) to answer their questions, Their comment was “TRIPS Agreed( which is an agreement under the world trade organization concerning trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) (“Biotechnology”. 13).” This shows that the farmers are able to grow what they want as long as it passes inspection from the FDA before it is sold to retailers. Because they feel that just because the labels only need to include motions of genetically modified organisms only if there has been a significant change, the retailers worry that they may be unknowing buying GMO crops and they would be cheated out of potential profits. This conflict needed the help from the WHO they have reviewed the conflict boiling between Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the TRIPS agreement. Their verdict; “they considered potential problems of monopolization and doubts about new patent regulations in the field of genetic sequences in human medicine. Such considerations are likely to also affect the debate on GM foods (“Biotechnology”. 13).”

The concerns and the worries about the GMO production are many people have mixed feelings about the project. Some people are weary and still have an uneasy feeling when it comes to the consumption, others are worried about the economic effect and for some this issue is on a deeper level coming to ethics and morals. Some are worried about the amount of control that is being given to the government. Many of them want to take control (deregulate) a lot of programs/ agency like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is responsible for clean air and clean water, and clean land to name a few, but yet they want laws to tighten control, regarding women’s rights to make decisions of her health and body. Imagine taking controls off the Airline business, without the safety checks balances just how safe would the many planes in the air be? How safe would you feel flying in one? Another precaution is their moral standing when it comes to altering god’s creations. There are some people that support gene selection in children and there are some that don’t. The GMO process will be the same idea, if you do not support the policy then do not buy the products, no one is forcing you to use GMO product it’s just that the service for the customers that want it, have it available to them. Some retailers that are strictly against using GMO foods like the Lays and Fritos companies are suggesting that transgenetic modifications will be unsustainable forms of agriculture. Robert peck author of unanswered questions about genetically engineered foods included his point of view on the point on this same subject by writing.

There is a low amount of rich variety of crops, both in terms of good crop protection practices as well as from the perspective of society at large and the values attached to food. These groups fear that as a result of the interest of the chemical industry in seed markets, the range of varieties used by farmers may be reduced mainly to GM crops. This would impact on the food basket of a society as well as in the long run on crop protection (for example, with the development of resistance against insect pests and tolerance of certain herbicides). The exclusive use of herbicide-tolerant GM crops would also make the farmer dependent on these chemicals (peck CL).

What Peck must have missed is that there are already 365 million acres of GMO crop fields already in America and many there are thousands of these foods in our produce isle and we eat them without even knowing it. If GMO was such a major health hazard to people then the 365 million acres of Crops would not have been planted, for consumption or to assist in holistic medicine.

The FDA has considered most genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to unmodified food. Regardless of reports detailing the substantial, compositional, and nutritional, difference between genetically modified and unmodified foods. The "substantial equivalence" principle is vague and misleading, and encompasses most genetically engineered foods on the market today (“Genetically engineered molecules” 3).

GMO is the future of this country and possibly the world with GMO foods available people have the capability to make smarter and wiser decisions about what they will eat and what kinds of medicine they could take. People with specific diets like diabetics, vegans or health conscious in general would be ecstatic about the fantastic changes GMO can make. The small strands of genes that can push you weight over the edge, spike your blood sugar, or may have animal or dairy products as ingredients, could all be removed.

As more people and companies start to embrace GMO productions in health care and consumption there will be more advances in the field. Plants will be used to withstand dry spells and fish for better medicine like stronger fish oil which some people take on a daily basis for omega 3 oils. And of course there will be the production of healthier and longer lasting foods. With the concern of Americans and their expanding waist bands, the health benefits will be outstanding, true there could be an increased chance of allergens but with GMO those allergens could be easily removed opening up a new food category for many people.

Genetic manipulation can be used to address nutrition-related disease risks that are associated with consumption of particular nutrients. An example would be the engineering of soybeans high in oleic acid…created by suppression of the normal catalytic reaction of oleic acid … This process, has immense potential to decrease the hydrogenated fat consumption of many Americans, thereby positively affecting the nationwide incidence of cardiovascular disease. (Schmidt, 40-47).

Work Cited

“Biotechnology” Food and Drug Administration April 2010: 1-15

Domingo, Josie L. “Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants.” Food Science & Nutrition October (2007): 1-10

“Genetically engineered molecules” The Council for Responsible Genetics.25 Sept. 2000:1-4

Lappe, Marc Dr. “Genetically Modified Foods.” The Journal of Medical Foods (2010)1-13. Print

Peck, Robert. “Unanswered questions about genetically engineered foods” Yale University 14 Oct. 2011, late ed. : CL+. Print

Schmidt, Jennifer Dr. “Health professionals Hold Positive Attitudes towards Biotechnology and Genetically Engineered Foods.” Journal of Environment (2011): 40-47. Print


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