GM food topic is controversial and it's subject of protests, vandalism, referenda, legislation, court action and scientific disputes and this involve consumers, biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations and scientists.
The main concerns about GM (genetic modified) food and crops is whether they have any negative effects on our health and the environment. And before implementation of these new GM strategies, we should take a full risk assessment which is necessary to understand the possible impacts.
Transgenesis of food organisms is likely to grow further and used in the world food supply.
Genetic engineering and breeding has aim of building plants that are superior ("superweeds" and "superbugs") which holds great promise.
GM crops (such as corn, soybean, rapeseed and cotton) already been produced a range of GM characters such as:
- resistance to certain viral pathogens (cucumber mosaic virus), insect, pests, diseases (citrus greening disease) or environmental conditions,
- reduction of spoilage,
- resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. herbicide),
- enhancing yields or improved nutritional value,
- modification of enzymes involved in bioprocessing2006, 2007,
- altering oil content,
- tomato - delayed fruit ripening,
- alfalfa - aimed at the reduction of lignin contentwiki,
- and many more
However some health groups claim that there is potential long-term impact on human health have not been adequately assessed2004,2007, however the broad scientific consensus is that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk than conventional food2010, 2011, 2012.
In general those who create genetically engineered seeds argue the seeds are safe and critics say that FDA has relied on studies the industry paid for in comparison with overseas studies which show increasing signs of concern (e.g. increasing the size of organs in mice).
The main concerns raised by BMA (PDF) in 2004 are:
It is possible that GM technology could lead to unpredicted harmful
changes in the nutritional status of foodsMRC 2000.
GM foods could conceivably have different effects on those of poor nutritional status and/or those belonging to ‘vulnerable groups’ (notably the foetus, infants, children, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and those with chronic disease) when compared with healthy individuals.
Recent UK Farm Scale Evaluations of GM herbicide-tolerant
crops (GMHT)2003 indicate that if GMHT beet and spring oilseed rape were introduced and managed as they were in the trial, a significant reduction would be expected in weed biomass and weed seed return. This would result in fewer nectar resources for pollinators and fewer weed seed resources for granivorous birds.
Canadian farmers found that their fields filled with stray GM crop plants known as ‘volunteers’. These were resistant, not only to the substance against which the main crop was engineered, but to the other two herbicides used as well.2002
The potential impact of GM crops on the environment and biological diversity is the issue that has given rise to most concern and it remains in doubt2003.
Research into the possible health effects of GM foods in this country has been limited to date by the lack of firm hypotheses regarding such effects, difficulties of defining individual consumption, and the generally low levels of consumption of GM foods.
Some other groups such as Greenpeace and WWF have concerns that risks of GM food have not been adequately identified and managed.
One cellular biologist, David Williams, says that anyone in this field knows that genome is not a static environment and can be transformed by several different means, and it can happen generations later which can result in potentially toxic plants slipping through testingD. Williams.
Some other studies indicated that there may be specific health risks associated with consumption of GM foods, such as:
People questioning this new technology and activists around the world demonstrate to express their concerns while food industries trying to push this technology forward.
There are common claims from opponents that consumption of GM can cause cancer or birth defects, however there currently is no evidence to support this claim.
Currently labeling of GMO products in the marketplace is required over 60 countries2014, the US does not require this.
Based on above, many unanswered questions remain, especially with potential long-term impact of GM foods on animal and human health and the environment and it currently. The GM foods are very complex and currently there is a lack of evidence-based research with regard to medium/long-effects on health and it remains as a matter of great public concern. Further research is required on how best to carry the experiments (modern profiling techniques and define the 'normal' compositions of conventional plants), risk assessments and surveillance studies with respect to GM crops and foods.
The Royal Society in their 2002 report saying there is at present no evidence that GM foods cause allergic reactions, use of
specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible and conclude that consumption poses no significant risk to human health, and that ingestion of GM DNA has no effect.
Study from 2003 by J Toxicol Environ Health summarise it:
The review of available literature indicates that the genetically modified crops available in the market that are intended for human consumption are generally safe; their consumption is not associated with serious health problems. However, because of potential for exposure of a large segment of human population to genetically modified foods, more research is needed to ensure that the genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption.
Currently the broad scientific consensus states that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food2010, 2011, 2012.
- Genetically modified food (GM food)
- Genetically modified crops (GMOs, biotech crops, transgenic plants)
- Genetically modified organism (GMO)
- Genetically modified food controversies
- Genetic engineering (Transgenesis, Cisgenesis, Subgenic)
- Plant breeding: Genetic modification
- Detection of genetically modified organisms
GM organisms in agriculture:
GM soybean (controversies: safety),
- GM tomato,
- GM wheat (controversies: safety, ecological, intellectual property law, contamination of the non-GM, etc.),
- GM rice (controversies: safety, should be labeled, intellectual property, contamination of the non-GM, etc.)
- GM alfalfa (and legal issues in the UK),
Growers can spray fields of Roundup Ready alfalfa with the glyphosate herbicide and kill the weeds without harming the alfalfa crop.
AquAdvantage salmon (trade name for GM Atlantic salmon)
Concerns: survival, rate of growth, smoltification, allergenicity, muscle fibers, lack of fertilization, swimming capabilities, decreased sperm velocity
- GM maize (Effects on nontarget insects, Gene flow, corn recalls)
The Truth about Genetically Modified Food at Scientific American
Are You Eating Frankenfood? article by Martin Teitel, Ph.D.
and Kimberly A. Wilson
Results coming in from the first objective tests are not encouraging. Scientists issue cautionary statements almost weekly, ranging from problems with monarch butterflies dying from genetically modified corn pollen to the danger of violent allergic reactions to genes introduced into soy products, as well as experiments showing a variety of actual and suspected health problems for cows fed genetically engineered hormones and the humans who drink their milk. And this doesn't even consider slow-acting problems that might not show up for years or decades. Who decided this was an acceptable risk?