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The GM Food Debate.

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Introduction

The GM Food Debate The use of technology in agriculture has become the order of the day. Genetic engineering, an area of agro-technology is the most controversial way of growing crops. There are both advantages and disadvantages in producing GM foods. Genetic engineering techniques now allow scientists to insert specific genes into a plant or animal. Genetic engineering is therefore extremely rapid. The main objective of producing GM food is to meet the demand of consumers quickly and at the same time produce more to sell. (Reference: Textbook) The appearance of genetically modified foods in markets has resulted in many public debates, scientific discussion, and media coverage. The main concern over the GM food issue is that genetic modification techniques raises the possibility of human health, environmental, and economic problems, including allergies to certain substances in foods, the spread of pest resistance and wild plants' resistance against herbicides, kill wildlife, and increasing control of agriculture by biotechnology companies and organisations. ...read more.

Middle

One scientist admitted that knowledge of the effects was still very little and more studies had to be done. (Reference: David King, the government's chief scientific adviser and chair of 25-strong panel) The next concern is environmental hazard. Some GM foods can possess new substances that require greater study than organisms produced by traditional techniques since long-term ecological impacts of GM is extremely difficult to predict or study, it was recommended that the authorities be careful with the release of GM to the environment. (Reference: Ecological of America) A study was done a few years back and showed that GM foods caused problems to human health. (Reference: Nature, Vol 399, No 6733, p 214, May 1999) However, several groups have suggested that the experiment is flawed and studies are still being done. (Reference: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) According to netscientist.com, there is no toxic effect In GM. (Reference: Shaoni Bhattacharya, From New Scientist Online News 16:01 21 July 03) ...read more.

Conclusion

Drought is also a problem in many places and with a special gene, farmers can create plants that can withstand long periods of drought or high salt content in soil. Places that have be unsuitable for cultivation can now be used. (Reference: CSA) Fourthly, Medicines and Vaccines can be inserted in tomatoes and potatoes, which can be easily stored and be eaten. Food could also have added nutrition like vitamins and minerals (Reference: Kurt Kleiner, From New Scientist Online News 18:42 10 July 03) According to newscientist.com, GM peanuts, tested on mice, could protect humans from allergies. In conclusion, I think that GM food, although attractive for its purposes, is still not safe for consumption. The long term effect is still not known and this could prove deadly for consumers of GM if an outbreak of a disease of some sort occurs. The environment could also be greatly affected due to the harmful substances that GM may contain. Until all information about GM is verified and is certified to be safe, I do not think GM should be used. Some Sources: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GMfoodaid.php http://www.ucsusa.org/index.cfm http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/gm/ http://www.nfu.org.uk/intradoc-cgi/idc_cgi_isapi.dll?IdcService=GET_DOC_PAGE&Action=GetTemplatePage&Page=NFU_HOME_PAGE http://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0033.04.html ...read more.

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