THE FUTURE OF FOOD
Food can be defined as something that has nutritional value and consumable by the human being and animals, for sustainability and leads to growth and development. The availability holds for future generation. The future of food is determined by proper use of biodiversity and human resources .These resources include use of biotechnology and other methods of farming that would lead to preservation of flora and fauna. Scientifically, conservation and proper use of biodiversity would ensure that the living forms are preserved in their own natural environment for the benefit of man. The natural species of plants and animals becomes food security for future generations. Proper scientific knowledge leads to proper maintenance of organisms, which enhance sustainable utilization. Biodiversity includes fuel, which goes hand in hand with food and medicine. A good environment will have unpolluted water, soil richness good weather conditions that enhance proper food crop growth and animal husbandry. All these would to proper farming methods for the future security of food.
Genetically engineered food
Engineering is the use of manpower to change the composition of good for the benefit of man either by improving the quality or quantity of that product. In food industry, engineering involves modification of foodcrops and animals using biotechnology processes to improve on quality and quantity. This includes use of living cells or their components e.g. enzymes, hormones to come up with a pedigree by combining genes from different organisms. This process involves alteration of genes; weakening and when these genes are mixed up with other genes from different organisms like bacteria, virus and stem cells, to give up an improved entity. The use of recombant DNA technology results to a genetically modified organism. Modification of organism using this technology tend to improve on qualities such as food flavor ,plants resistant to diseases ,improved yield, adaptation to harsh climatic conditions, faster growth of plants and animals, improved quality of hides and meat , increased milk production.
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Genetically engineered food includes fruits, roots, cereals, broilers, beef and other medical subsistances. Fruits are genetically engineered to improve flavor, to ease the process of preservation e.g. ant freezer genes from cockroaches can be used to make some fruits resistant to bright, mist and frost .Or to resist diseases. Potatoes, are genetically modified to enhance quicker growth, bigger tubers, edible sweet potato vines, or resistant to nematodes and other diseases. Bananas are genetically modified with virus, through virus career mechanism to enhance production of a vaccine against Hepatitis B.
Modified cereals include rice, wheat, corns etc to add vitamins, irons, calcium and phosphorus. Also they become resistant to diseases, drought and grow quickly e.g. hybrid maize. They require short rainfall, and give high yield and quite adaptive to the environment.
Some cassava are engineered to lessen poisonous element in the cassava root and to improve quality. All these helps to curb food failure.
Going on, animals are engineered to produce meat with good quality, animal fat with less or no cholesterol, good hide and skin, adaptive to harsh environment and drought, resistant to diseases like cow mud diseases which is zoonotic and animals which are resistant to parasitic infection as well as to produce enough milk with increased butterfat as it should be expected highly. Improved animal health is met when this technology is applied worldwide and when proper hybridization is maintained. The overall yield would lead to proper use of available resources and this would lead to economically stable world as food security is concerned. Just as a matter of fact, the future of food is assured since consumption would not outweigh production. This would lead to increased food security for the growing population and future generation.
Human health risk of genetically engineered food
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As mentioned in the above context, genetically modified organisms involve several engineering methods. These methods include use of recombinant DNA transfer techniques that use mRNA processes. To mention a few of these techniques, there is use of molecules that carry certain attenuated organisms like bacteria, virus etc in other word viral carrier and bacterealcarrier techniques. Other processes include injection of micro-organisms in the targeted organism terming it as microinjection technique, there is other method of splitting genes and then those parts are used in the process of gene splicing, and lastly by use of electricity radiation to force the DNA code material to penetrate to the targeted cell.
All these processes of genetic material transfer are highly harmful when there is negligence and inaccuracy in the process. Certain side effects may results as well as chronic infections, which are genetically oriented. Going on untargeted organisms might suffer in the process, especially when crosspollination occur among plants; this is because of gene mixture among plants and eventually man who might consume those plants.
All these complicated techniques have lethal effects or side effects. As it pertains to human health, several outcomes may results i.e. first there is experienced toxicity effects whereby some genetic material produce toxins in the body. Or else the injected material produce poisonous element in the body. Note in the process of modifying organisms, massager RNA of the different organism is used to process the information as to what amino acid is to be synthesized or what hormone is to be synthesized, in the process the massager RNA might give wrong information that would lead to synthesis of toxins, which cause toxicity. The next levels of genetically modified food healthy risk to human being include development of hypersensitivity type II reaction. This involves Antibody-mediated food allergy reaction that occur when antibodies either the immunoglobin G or Ig M isotopes are produced against surface antigens present on the wall of the body.
Generally, these Ags might trigger cytotoxic reaction either by activating complement reaction of immune system. These might lead to the skin allergy or might damage the cells of the consumer leading to immune complex diseases, which would lead to skin cancer. Human health may be put at risk especially when consumers are not aware of the consequences of using certain genetically modified food, for example, lack of proper surveillance and regulation may lead to consumers being exposed to lethal products. Some products have chronic side effects that gradually accumulate in the body leading to deadly diseases.
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Another issue of concern is when the stability of the inserted or injected gene is not tested. When the unstable gene is ingested together with the food, it might mutate in the body and this would cause genetically syndrome diseases to the human being or to animals. In essence no one know what would result when crosspollination between modified plants and unmodified of the same species occur, since there is no human control in pollination. Probably this might produce new abnormal plants that can pose health threat to consumers when taken.
It is known genetically modified food have good nutritional values. In addition, they are easily preservable, but now the problem arises when those chemicals get in the body. This is because some chemicals are persistent organic pollutants (pops) that gradually accumulates in the body causing chronic infections in the body fatty tissues, sensitive cells including reproductive cells. According to researchers, it is believed that these pops can lead to hormonal imbalance in the reproductive system that can cause serious health complications like miscarriage.
Human health risk can also be put at risk due to human error in the process of transfer techniques of these genes. This is because viruses and bacteria are used. Normally these are harmful organisms only that accuracy can help to combat their consequences. These consequences might be fatal e.g. bacterial diseases. Inaccuracy may lead to injecting life bacteria that automatically causes human diseases.
Environmental hazards involve any negative impact to the environment that is caused by man in the line of scientific work and medicine in general. These would be direct or indirect impacts which later are harmful to the livings. Environmental hazards include biomagnifications and other effects of persistent organic pollutants. It is known that some genetically modified seeds require certain chemicals for them to germinate, these chemicals are harmful to the soil and soil life. Continuous uses of these chemicals pose a threat to the aquatic creatures when they get into the water through drainage. Things like fishes absorb these chemicals, and some might be harmful. Later man and other predators would eat them, and in the process biomagnifications results. Since genetically engineered products are highly reliable, some flora and fauna may be ignored or eliminated in the process due to overdependancy on these genetically modified
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Crosspollination by wind or insects might lead to mixing of genes between genetically modified plants and natural plants or some genetically modified plants might regenerate to uncontrollable level. Again inbreeding among the animals is another factor of concern. The consequences of inbreeding are known to produce undesirable characters. These eventually might lead to lack of proper preservation of biodiversity. This effect of losing natural habitat would be felt later in the near future. Some products of this biotechnology are nonbiodegradable or take long time to be recycled due to their unpallatability character. This poses a major threat to the environment.
Industrialization and use of advanced technology has some negative impacts on the environment. This include global warming and pollution of both water and soil e.g. green houses that are used for the growing of genetically engineered flowers require human control for the temperature, water and minerals. After a period of time that soil habitant and ecosystem becomes altered or ruined due to chemical mixture. Some soil organisms cannot tolerate that living condition. Interference with the environment to some extent can lead to climatic conditions that are not favorable for the growth of enough food for the future generations hence food insecurity. It is important that this technology should hold for the future food security with minimum threat for both living things and environment at large.
Food safety inspections
Food safety inspection involves government organized bodies whose their duty is to make sure that good food surveillance is done with maximum displine. This includes checking for quality, quantity and whether the food is safe for human consumption. The government ensures that all the necessary measures are put into place to ensure safety. Due to politic issues, activists, consumers and illiteracy, government food regulators fail to perform their duty properly. In general government regulators might be forced to allow untested genetically engineered food and other products in their country due to corruption or political influence by powerful agribusiness partners. This is a serious offence to the world of science and technology.
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Proper food inspection and safety analysis should be done before they are released to the farmers or consumers. Tight measures should be taken against biotechnologist who produces GMP with lethal effects. Creation of awareness to consumers by civic education. Some countries like Europe will ban genetically engineered products.
Breakdown and failures actually lead to genetical problems in the world. These include genetical associated diseases, malnutrition, loss of biodiversity as mentioned earlier.
Food disasters that cause loss of human life
These disasters are manmade and natural calamities. Manmade disasters are like genetically oriented diseases e.g. skin cancer as a result of allergies. Natural causes include drought, famine, hurricanes, diseases caused by nature, floods, and earthquake. Others are food deficiency diseases like kwashiorkor, marasmus, anemia,
Factors contributing to food borne illness
First, there is lack of awareness of food borne illness and illiteracy. Availability of food with low nutritional value leading to marasmus, kwashiorkor, anemia etc. Lack of proper balanced diet Negligence in food inspection and scrutiny. Breakdown and failure in the genetically engineered products system. Poverty and corruption, poor climatic condition, global warming and desertification.
Drugs, hormones and Antibodies used in this technology have adverse effects which lead to
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animal stress. This is well recognized in poultry. Some hormones or antibodies injected to these birds e.g. broilers causes the birds to have certain queer characteristics or behaviors. Slight excitement to these birds would lead to massive death. Vaccines innovated from attenuated bacteria or microbes may have adverse effects to the animals.
Ethical and moral issues
Ethical and moral issues involves rules of conduct and implications that governs the progress toward the study of scientific work and research as it pertains to biota and the environment, its effects and consequences in life and medicine. Here several questions arise whether duos genetically engineered products solves the problems of food security or whether these products demerits outweigh the merits. It is unethical for the Christians to alter Gods creation. It is believed that God creation is good and should not be tampered with so Christians won’t welcome this issue of GMP. Some cultural believes of Africans duos condone this technology. How comes that MG products cannot be bitten by pest be edible to man. It is known that some companies will patent and own gm products life forms. This is unethical since they just manipulate with natural life.
Corporate farming engulfing America
America being one of the major experts in genetically engineered products has several corporate members. This corporate farming faces major threats and challenges due to control by tycoon and private companies and patenting of engineered products. This discourages this technology since testing might be neglected and research delayed. Indeed troubles arise when getting seeds from patented companies hence interfering with research.
Political interests are also a concern whereby strong companies need to fetch more money in marketing of these products. Some farmers would not allow testing of these products in their farms.
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Genetically modified products are of good help to the human being as far as food security is concerned, but this technology should be abused. Serious testing and inspection should be encouraged to curb genetically oriented complications to the living things and curb environmental hazards.
Global issues (2007) Genetically Engineered Food, retrieved on 8th August, available at www. globalissues.org/EnvIssues/GEFood.asp
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (2007) genetically modified food, retrieved on 8th August, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food
Centre for food safety (2007) genetically modified food, retrieved on 8th August,
Available at www.centerforfoodsafety.org/geneticall7
Potential Health Risks (2007) Potential Health Risks caused by genetically modified food, retrieved on 8th August, Available at www.cgiar.org/biotech
Pure Food (2007) corporate farming sector in America, retrieved on 8th August, available at w ww.website.purefood.org/log.html
prentice hall Sherlock and John Moray (2007) Ethic Biotechnological concerns: Genetically modified food, publishers, New York
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