GM food

• What is GM food?
• Genetically modified (GM) food is food produced from any crop or
animal that has been genetically altered during its production using
the modern techniques of gene technology. Modifications usually
involve changing one gene of the 30,000 — 50,000 odd genes that
make up an organism.
For example, GM corn in the United States has been genetically
modified to protect it from insect pests by adding a gene, which
comes from a common soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis
• GM food is a double-edged sword, it brings us both potential
benefits and hazards and has caused controversy in the recent
• Genetic engineering (GE) is used to take genes and
segments of DNA from one species, e.g. fish, and put
them into another species, e.g. tomato.GE provides a set
of techniques to cut DNA either randomly or at a number
of specific sites. Once isolated one can study the
different segments of DNA, multiply them up and splice
them (stick them) next to any other DNA of another cell
or organism. GE makes it possible to break through the
species barrier and to shuffle information between
completely unrelated species.
The food made by genetic engineering is called GM food.
Potential benefits
• The benefits of GM food can be viewed from
different viewpoints, namely, for crops, animals,
environment, society, etc.
1 Enhanced taste and quality
2 Reduced maturation time
3 Increased nutrients, yields, and stress
4 Improved resistance to disease, pests, and
5 New products and growing techniques
• Animals
1 Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness,
and feed efficiency
2 Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk
3 Improved animal health and diagnostic
1 Conservation of soil, water, and energy
2 Bioprocessing for forestry products
3 Better natural waste management
4 More efficient processing
• Society
1 Increased food security for growing
• Fruits and vegetables with higher vitamin and antioxidant
contents to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes
and cancer
• Horticultural products with enhanced flavors, texture and
• Rice with higher levels of iron
• Oils with improved fat balance to protect against heart
disease and cancer
• Milk and other animal products with healthier fat content
• Lower levels of allergens in some common foods
• There are many benefits of GM food. However, as
mentioned before, GM food is a double-edged sword, it
imposes many potential threats to us besides benefits.
• Safety
1 Potential human health impact:
1.1 allergens
1.2 transfer of antibiotic resistance markers
1.3 unknown effects Potential environmental impact:
unintended transfer of transgenes through crosspollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e.g.,
soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity
• Access and Intellectual Property
1 Domination of world food production by a few companies
2 Increasing dependence on Industralized nations by developing
3 Biopiracy—foreign exploitation of natural resources
• Ethics
1 Violation of natural organisms' intrinsic values
2 Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species
3 Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa
4 Stress for animal
• Labeling
1 Not mandatory in some countries (e.g., United States)
2 Mixing GM crops with non-GM confounds labeling attempts
1 New advances may be skewed to interests of rich countries
Far and away, since GM food brings us both
advantages and disadvantages, it is difficult to
decide if GM food technology should be
However, as a consumer, it is important and is of
our basic right to know whether the food we buy
and eat is genetic modified or not and choose to
buy the food or not to choose.
The issue will remain controversial in the near

similar documents