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Genetically Modified Food

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Title: Genetically Modified Food


1
Genetically Modified Food Feed
  • SYR JOHNATHAN DUNCAN

2
Genetically modified food
  • A genetically modified food is a food product
    containing some quantity of any genetically
    modified organism (GMO) as an ingredient.
  • Some nations have very strong disagreement over
    genetically modified organisms. For example, the
    European Union and Japan have enacted labelling
    and traceability requirements for GM food
    products, while the United States does not
    believe these requirements are necessary.

3
Background
  • Although "biotechnology" and "genetic
    modification" commonly are used interchangeably,
    GM is a special set of technologies that alter
    the genetic makeup of such living organisms as
    animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a
    more general term, refers to using living
    organisms or their components, such as enzymes,
    to make products that include wine, cheese, beer,
    and yogurt. Combining genes from different
    organisms is known as recombinant DNA technology,
    and the resulting organism is said to be
    "genetically modified," "genetically engineered,"
    or "transgenic." GM products (current or in the
    pipeline) include medicines and vaccines, foods
    and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers.

4
Controversies over risks
  • In August 1998 widespread concern, especially in
    Europe, was sparked by remarks by a leading GM
    researcher (with 270 published scientific papers
    to his name), Dr Arpad Pusztai, regarding some of
    his research into the safety of GM food. In his
    experiments, rats fed on genetically modified
    potatoes had suffered serious damage to their
    immune systems and shown stunted growth. He was
    vilified by leading British politicians, other
    scientists and by the GM companies, not least
    because his remarks, in a television interview,
    preceded the scientific publication of his
    results. Neither his eminence in the field nor
    his previous enthusiastic support for GM food
    were enough to save his career. Dr Pusztai was
    forced into retirement and his research
    suspended, whilst the British government blocked
    efforts to repeat his experiments which would
    have proved or disproved his

5
Controversies over risks
  • In May 2005, a leaked report from Monsanto showed
    that some of its own experiments were raising
    doubts over the safety of GM food, and in
    particular seriously called into question the
    regulatory doctrine of substantial equivalence -
    that GM food with similar proteins and toxins is
    deemed no different than conventional food,
    without further investigation of the effects of
    any other differences. In Monsanto's research,
    rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified
    corn developed abnormalities to internal organs
    and changes to their blood, raising fears that
    human health could be affected by eating GM food.

6
Public reaction
  • Public outcry about the undue influence that the
    terminator gene (preventing plants from producing
    seeds) would give to Monsanto, particularly in
    less developed nations where seed saving is more
    common (in developed countries farmers usually
    tend to use the 1st generation seeds anyway), led
    to its withdrawal.

7
  • Awareness grew throughout the nineties and
    eventually produced a strong backlash against GM
    foods (discussed below), which were panned as
    "untested", "unlabeled" and "unsafe" following
    this backlash, the International Rice Research
    Institute, with funding from the Rockefeller
    Foundation developed a strain of rice enriched
    with vitamin A through genetic modification,
    dubbed golden rice. Subsequently the biotech
    industry touted this as a boon to poor people
    suffering from Vitamin A deficiency, which can
    cause blindness. This was condemned by GM food
    opponents as a ploy and a public relations move.

8
Policy around the world
  • In 2000, countries that grew 99 of the global
    transgenic crops were the United States (68),
    Argentina (23), Canada (7), and China (1).
    Although growth is expected to plateau in
    industrialized countries, it is increasing in
    developing countries.

9
References
  • Huang, J. et al. 2002. Plant Biotechnology in
    China. Science 295674-677.
  • Niu, 2003. Caution in China over GM Crops.
    Science 299 1013
  • Lei, W. 2004. China Could Be First Nation to
    Approve Sale of GM Rice. Science 3061458-1459.
  • Robert Ali Brac De La PerriFre and Franck Seuret
    (2001), Brave New Seeds The Threat of GM Crops
    to Farmers, Zed Books
  • Stephen Nottingham (2003), Eat Your Genes How
    Genetically Modified Food Is Entering Our Diet,
    Zed Books

10
External links
  • http//www.seedsofdeception.com/
  • http//www.greenpeace.fr/campagnes/cdp/ogm/O991202
    .htm
  • http//pewagbiotech.org/newsroom/releases/021303.p
    hp3
  • http//www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.17889/artic
    le_detail.asp
  • http//www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/argu
    /trends/trend_80.htm
  • http//www.grain.org/research/contamination.cfm
  • Database of all GM crops approved for commercial
    release http//www.agbios.com/
  • http//www.checkbiotech.org/
  • http//www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/
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