Genetically Modified Foods
Definition, Production Process and Examples of GM Foods
Genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms (GM Foods or GMOs) are normally defined as those whose individual genetic material has been altered in a way that never occurs naturally (McArthur, 2009). This type of alteration is used to develop genetically modified plants, which are then used to grow crops. The production process of genetically modified foods begins with identification of specific gene of interest. After such a gene has been identified, it is isolated from the rest of the species. Consequently, the isolated gene is amplified with the aim of producing many similar copies. The gene(s) are then associated with an appropriate poly A, sequence as well as to the appropriate promoter. It is then inserted into plasmids (Brunk & Coward, 2009).
Bacteria play a critical role during the production process of GM foods as it responsible for multiplying the plasmid (Brunk & Coward, 2009). In addition, it recovers the cloned constructs that are used specifically for injection. It is important to note that the process of transferring the ensuing constructs into an identified recipient tissue results to fertilization of the eggs. After fertilization, the gene is integrated into a recipient genome. This is further expressed in the recipient genome after which it is inherited through further generations. Various types of genetically modified foods are available in the market such as Brine shrimp, Tilapia, Salmon, Pacific Salmon, Zebrafish, Goldfish, Carp, Walleye as well as Rainbow trout Brunk & Coward, 2009).
Concerns Regarding GM Foods
Farmer, consumer as well as environmental organizations have raised many concerns regarding genetically modified foods. In addition, they have raised objectives as far as the safety of chemicals, normally applied to genetically modified plants in regards to human consumptions (McArthur, 2009). Therefore, it is important to note that the most critical objections raised against GM foods involve their impacts to human health. In addition, they have raised concerns regarding the contamination of those foods that are not genetically modified due to the process of cross pollination (McArthur, 2009). Besides, it is important to note the increasing use of chemicals results to an escalated level of toxicity. The manufacturers who are responsible for the specific types of pesticides used on the GM plants or crops have continually assured of their safety. However, concerns have been raised due to emerging findings that contradict their position as far as safety is concerned.
Regulations of GM Foods
Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency coupled with FDA and United States Department of Agriculture are fully responsible in regulating the production of genetically modified foods (Thomson, 2006). It is important to note that this particular regulatory framework has been on the receiving end due to critical analysis as well as proposals of redesigning. Policies developed by regulatory bodies such as FDA, places responsibilities on the manufacture or the producer in the process of assuring the public about the safety of GM foods (Thomson, 2006). It is important to note that such kind of responsibility is explicitly placed on either of the two. This means that in essence, it is the ultimate responsibility of the producer to assure safety of the GM foods.
Based on the above findings, I would not recommend eating GM foods because the producer or a company is the ultimate guarantor to human safety. In my opinion, GM foods should be thoroughly analyzed by an independent scientific review to determine health risks that are inherent. Moreover, stringent measures should be put in place to ensure that consumers are informed through labeling.
Brunk, C. G., & Coward, H. G. (2009). Acceptable genes?: Religious traditions and genetically modified foods. Albany: SUNY Press.
McArthur, K. (2009). GM foods. South Melbourne: Nelson Cengage Learning.
Thomson, J. A. (2006). GM crops: The impact and the potential. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Pub.