Genetically modified Foods or GM Foods are foods manufactured from crops or organisms whose natural state had been tempered with. They are the organisms whose genes has been altered through a process called genetic engineering.
Any organism whose genes has been altered is known as Genetically Modified Organism, GMO. Therefore, any food produced from such organism is referred to as GM Food or bioengineered food.
In recent years, genetic engineering seem to be gradually phasing out previous similar processes like selective breeding and mutation breeding as the formal is known to give more room for the introduction of new traits as well as allow for greater control over traits making it easier for traits manipulations.
The Firs commercial sale of genetically modified food was recorded in 1994 when Calgene unsuccessfully tried marketing its product and ever since then more and more GM Food products has been thrown into the market.
Most of the concern covering GMO’s pertains to their tendency for negative effects on human health and the environment.
In the past few years, several countries have completely placed an embargo on GMOs and the pesticides that go along with them, and they are acting so for a reason. The most recent country to consider a total ban is Russia after top government scientists recommended at least a 10-year ban.
Although all GMOs that have been endorsed are considered by the government to be as safe as their organic counterparts and are generally unregulated (FDA website).
However, there are various types of potential health hazards that could result from the insertion of a novel gene into an organism. Health hazards of primary concern to safety assessors are the production of new allergens, decreased nutrition, increased toxicity, antibiotic resistance, e.t.c.
7 Proven Side Effects Of GMO foods.
So, now you understand that GMO foods are foods and dietary supplements formulated with ingredients and foods source whose original genes has been modified. Is there any risk associated with eating GMO foods? If there is any, What is the side effects of GMO foods?
Although some scientists and those that sold the Ideal of Genetically modifying organisms for whatever reason are quick to point out the gains and benefits derived from what they referred to as a massive progress in food revolution, however, recent clinical studies showed that, while there are some few gains of GMO, the health risk seems to overwhelm what ever gain the technological brought.
Here are 7 out the many proven health risk and dangerous side effects of GMO Foods.
1. Food Allergy
Introducing genetic organisms from one plant to another may bring about the introduction of allergenic material from one species into another. Because certain proteins generate more allergic reactions than others, people with acute allergies know what foods to keep away from. If genes from those foods are introduced into others without proper labeling to warn those with allergies, allergic reactions could surface. The launch of genetic material from Brazil nuts into soybeans was shelved, for this reason, Whitman states.
2. GMOs May Cause Liver Problems
Rats which fed on GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.
The livers of rats which were fed with GM canola were 12-16% heavier.
GM soy altered mouse liver cells in manners that suggest a toxic insult. The changes reversed after their diet changed to non-GM soy.
3. Reduction In Nutritional Value of The Food
A genetically modified plant could theoretically have lesser nutritional quality than its organic counterpart by making nutrients indigestible or unavailable to humans. For example, phytate is a compound found in seeds and grains that binds with minerals and causes them to be unavailable to humans.
An inserted gene could cause a plant to yield higher levels of phytate-reducing the mineral nutritional value of the plant (GEO-PIE).
Another example is from a study conducted which reviewed that a strain of genetically modified soybean yielded lesser levels of phytoestrogen compounds, believed to guard against heart disease and cancer, than organic soybeans.
4. GMOs May Cause Reproductive Problems And Infant Mortality
A clinical study conducted using rats showed that more than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died in the course of three weeks, that’s a serious fatality.
Again the study showed Male rats and mice which were fed GM soy had changed testicles, inclusive of altered young sperm cells in the mice.
The DNA of mouse embryos functioned diversely when their parents ate GM soy
The longer mice were fed GM corn, the lesser babies they had, and the smaller their babies were also fed same.
Babies of female rats which fed on GM soy were considerably smaller, and more than half died in the course of three weeks (compared to 10% of the non-GM soy controls).
Female rats which were fed GM soy displayed changes in their ovaries and uterus.
By the third generation, most hamsters that were fed GM soy were unable to have babies.
Summarily, although the study was not conducted on human being per se, the result derived from rats sent a shivering message to humans and a very serious health risk should humans continue to feed on foods gotten from crops whose genes have been engineered for whatever commercial purpose.
5. GMOs Cause Increased Toxicity
Most plants yield substances that are poisonous to humans. Most of the plants that humans take produce toxins at levels low enough that they do not yield any adverse health effects. There is concern that injecting an exotic gene into a plant could cause it to yield toxins at higher levels that could be detrimental to humans. This could occur through the process of injecting the gene into the plant. If other genes in the plant get damaged during the injection process it could give rise to the plant to alter its production of toxins.
Alternatively, the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway thereby making a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response.
Although these effects are yet to be observed in GM plants, they have been observed via conventional breeding methods producing a safety concern for GM plants. For example, potatoes conventionally bred for higher diseased resistance have yielded increased levels of glycoalkaloids.
6. GM Food Linked To Deadly Epidemic Sickness And Disability.
In the 1980s, a contaminated brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and created sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people. The source of contaminants was almost certainly the genetic engineering method utilized in its production.
The disease took years to be discovered and was almost overlooked. It was only discovered because the signs were acute, unique, and fast-acting. If all three characteristics were not available, the deadly GM supplement might never have been discovered or eradicated.
If GM foods in the market are causing common diseases to humans or if their effects show up only after long-term exposure, we may not have the capacity to identify the source of the health hazards for decades, if at all. There is no monitoring of GMO-related effects and no long-term animal studies. Huge invested biotech corporations are gambling away the health of our nation for gain.
7. GMOs Cause Antibiotic resistance.
In recent years health professionals have become overwhelmed by the rising number of bacterial strains that are indicating resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by producing antibiotic resistance genes via natural mutation.
Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers when injecting new genes into plants. In the early stages of the process, scientists are not yet aware if the target plant will introduce the new gene into its genome. By inserting the desired gene into an antibiotic resistance gene the new GM plant can be tested by planting and growing it in a solution containing the corresponding antibiotic. If the plant survives scientists know that it has taken up the antibiotic resistance gene together with the desired gene.
There is concern that bacteria residing in the guts of humans and animals could select an antibiotic resistance gene from a GM plant before the DNA becomes totally digested.
It is unclear what sort of risk the possibility of conferring antibiotic resistance to bacteria portrays. No one has ever carefully seen bacteria incorporating new DNA from the digestive system under controlled laboratory conditions. The two kinds of antibiotic resistance genes utilized by biotechnologists are ones that already exist in bacteria in nature so the process would not introduce new antibiotic resistance to bacteria. Never the less it is a concern and the FDA is encouraging biotechnologists to phase out the practice of using antibiotic resistance genes.
There seem to be some sorts of campaign in some countries against GMO technology and its application as many people consider GMO foods unhealthy.
Although the biotech industry would want everybody to believe, as they have done in the past 23 years, that GM crops yields better and gives more nutritious foods, every clinical study conducted so far proved otherwise hence the decision of many countries like Russia to ban GM foods and technology.
1. Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007
2. 233-236, chart of disproved assumptions, in Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007