Discuss Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

Discuss Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

Food has always been one of the most important policy issues for governments because food as a basic commodity is fundamental to human life. Historically, people used to migrate from their countries due to inadequate food and feed supply. Today, the population has increased tremendously. There is a need for developing new cropping methods to address consumer demands across the world. Genetically modified foods are unique bioengineered products developed from organisms through the process of DNA transformation. Today these products are wildly known in the market both due their advantages and disadvantages. Although food products contain genetically modified ingredients, they attract consumers across the world. This fact means that people are willing to pay for the products that are not organic. Why? Reviews of academic sources on the selected issue point out to the fact that genetically modified foods have certain effects on human health. As the prevalence of genetically modified organisms in food is growing and the safety of these products has become an issue of concern, consumers explore Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

nutritional content, assess allergic response, and investigate undesired side effects such as increased toxicity, considerable organ damage, or gene transfer. Thesis statement: The negative effects of genetically modified foods, such as the improper immune system’s functioning, liver malfunction and the increased production of free radicals outweigh the economic benefits of these products.

To start with, there is some evidence that genetically modified foods provide benefits to human health and economy. Researchers found that “for millennia, humans have modified plant genes in order to develop crops best suited for food, fiber, feed, and energy production” (Barrows, et al., 2014, p. 99). Traditional methods of plant breeding are characterized as random and slow because of the availability of desirable features in closely related plant species defined as genetically modified foods. The fact that agricultural biotechnology effectively uses new technologies to minimize breeding time and increase the quality of products means that genetically modified foods are beneficial to human health as they have high levels of fiber and produce much energy (Barrows et al., 2014; Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). Research studies demonstrate that there are potential gains from the growth of output and reduction of food prices for consumers (Barrows et al., 2014).

However, the deeper research on the effects of genetically modified foods on human health shows that this new technology jeopardizes the health of consumers. The increased levels of endogenous toxins in plants lead to the negative effect on the immune system’s functioning. It is know that many chemicals of metabolism are shared between animals and plants. The risks of toxic effects are associated with alterations of plant compounds. There is much evidence taken from academic studies that “consumption of these genetically engineered foods can cause the development of diseases which are immune to antibiotics” (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013, p. 1035).

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As these foods are new technological innovations, they may have long term effects on human health because of their impact on the functioning of the immune system (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). For example, the results of safety tests on genetically manufactured crops are negative in terms of the immune system’s response. The assessment of genetically modified tomatoes produced by means of the new technology which was based on inserting kanr genes into tomatoes showed that there certain alterations in total protein content, vitamins and mineral contents, as well as toxic glycoalkaloids (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

Also, genetically modified foods have negative effects on human health because of the alteration of the functioning of the liver, which is connected with metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. As a result, people who consume genetically modified foods are diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease. Researchers found that “the main concerns have been the possibility of a transfer of allergens into the new foods, the gene transfer from GM foods to human cells or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract” (Buiatti et al., 2013, p. 255). These changes contribute to alteration of the functioning of the liver. As researchers proved that the transferred genetic materials adversely affect human health because of the transfer of genes from genetically modified plants into conventional crops or other species, it is critical to continue assessing their effects on food safety and food security. The examples of genetically modified foods that affect liver functioning are “foods engineered with genes from foods that commonly cause allergies, such as milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, legumes, fish, molluscs and crustacean” (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013, p. 256).

In addition, genetically modified foods have negative effects on human health because they contribute to the increased production of free radicals. Researchers found that there is a need for having a good understanding of “the biological significance and impact of the detected changes” to identify the causes of the increased production of free radicals in genetically modified foods (Simo et al., 2014, p. 18945). As genetically modified organisms have the ability to produce mutations, there may be considerable growth of free radicals. In recent study, researchers provided analysis of the human health safety assessment of transgenic plants and found that there are certain violations in terms of food safety (Simo et al., 2014). Hence, due to the proper molecular analysis, it is possible to investigate the effects of genetically modified food on human health.

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that although the use genetic engineering is one of the leading technological innovations in biotechnology, the negative effects of genetically modified foods on human health outweigh the economic benefits of these products in terms of agronomic productivity, industrial processing, and price reduction. Genetically modified foods have negative effects on the immune system’s functioning, the liver functioning, and lead to the increased production of free radicals. All in all, health risks associated with consumption of genetically modified foods are concerned with increased levels of toxins, allergens, and various genetic hazards resulted from gene integration or mutation. Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

References

Barrows, G., Sexton, S., Zilberman, D. (2014). Agricultural Biotechnology: The Promise and Prospects of Genetically Modified Crops. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(1): 99- 120. DOI: 10.1257/jep.28.1.99

Bawa, A. S. & Anilakumar, K. R. (2013). Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns—a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 50(6): 1035-1046. DOI: 10.1007/s13197-012-0899-1

Buiatti, M., Christou, P., Pastore, G. (2013). The application of GMOs in agriculture and in food production for a better nutrition: two different scientific points of view. Genes & Nutrition, 8(3): 255-270. DOI: 10.1007/s12263-012-0316-4

Godfray, H. C. & Garnett, T. (2015). Food Security and Sustainable Intensification. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369(1639): 1-12. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0273

Simo, C., Ibanez, C., Valdes, A. et al. (2014). Metabolomics of Genetically Modified Crops. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(10): 18941–18966. DOI:10.3390/ijms151018941 Effects of Genetically Modified Foods on Human Health

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