Genetic Engineering in Food essay sample

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GENETIC ENGINEERING IN FOOD

Genetic engineering in food alters the genetic makeup of food making them exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs. Genetically modified foods provide alternatives that significantly help increase food production. The increase in food production due to genetic engineering is important in solving food shortages and hunger problems mostly experienced by the poorer nations (Andrée 2005).

However, there are various concerns raised about the safety and feasibility of genetic engineering in food. Some of the concerns include;Genetic engineering in food involves extensive investments and expensive technologies that would be difficult for farmers in developing countries to adopt. Patenting laws are against the poor countries and allow biotech companies to benefit from patenting indigenous knowledge often without consent.This is a very young and untested technology and may not be the answer just yet.By promoting crop variety, the biotech firms will reduce genetic diversity making the crops more vulnerable to disease and pests. This furthers the need for pesticides (ironically created by the same companies creating and promoting genetically engineered crops).Since the early 1990s, the genetic engineering of food has been surrounded by controversy. Different people, groups of individuals, and institutions hold varied views on the issue, with each presenting their perceived benefits or dangers of genetic engineering of food. Supporters of the genetic engineering of food claim that the benefit is aimed at benefiting mankind.

They claim that it would not be logical for food manufacturers to use allergen or toxin in food manufacturing because they would have no benefit in marketing foods that would hurt their consumers, customers, or anyone. Furthermore, the food manufacturers applying genetic engineering subject the foods to more rigorous testing than is required for traditionally bred vegetables and fruits or animals (Stephen & Phillips 2006). On the other side, those arguing against genetic engineering cite various reasons based on nature and the work of scientists. They raise concerns as to whether scientists should be allowed to cross the boundaries of nature by cloning plants, microorganisms, livestock, animals and in any way humans; should scientists transfer genetic material from one organism to another?

Should they alter or compete with nature for any reason? Does genetic engineering of food signal the end of the food as we know it? Some critics also cite the possible negative health implications of the genetic engineering of food (Sandmann, et al., 2006). From my point of view, I feel that the presence of allergens in the genetically engineered food is a large threat human health. Due to limited study on the issue, the effects of genetically modified foods on human health are not yet fully known. While manufacturers applying genetic engineering claim that their technologies have been extensively tested, I feel that with such a short duration of using genetically engineering food, it is difficult to know the long- term effects of widespread consumption of such food.

For this reason, I am against the idea of genetic engineering of food and, …

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