Surprisingly, seventy percent of the food that is available on the shelves of a grocery store is genetically modified. Not only this food saturate human diet but it also endangers human health. Other than shelf items, Genetically Modified Foods also include grains such as corn, rice, and wheat, legumes such as soybeans and other products of soy while soft drinks, vegetable oils, vegetable, fruits, dairy products, animal products, meat, pork, chicken, infant formula plus, etc. (Miller and Spoolman 56). It should be noted that there is a large amount of hidden additives and harmful ingredients in such processed food. Sadly, consumers are unaware of the dangers that are brought by genetically modified food. Genetically modified food is increasing health problems among humans across the world. In this paper, a detailed discussion is presented regarding the negative effects of genetically modified foods along with trends observed in their consumption.
The use of genetically modified food has increased enormously in the past few decades. Increased utilization of genetically modified food is leading to major health problems, and decreased nutritional values, therefore, formal awareness regarding the subject is essential.
Numerous studies and critics have presented concern regarding the increased usage of genetically modified food. It is noted that in the United States alone, 80% of the processed food is genetically modified (Carter, Moschini, and Sheldon; Freedman 98). The abundance of genetically modified food is regarded as a serious challenge for the global society as it is leading towards numerous health problems. Instead of taking serious measures against the issue, the government is investing handsome amounts in creating genetically modified food. It is estimated that the US government spends $12 billion towards genetically modified food. Consumers are now eating genetically modified food on a daily basis. According to Teitel and Wilson, producers and sellers of genetically modified food have not followed the ethics of doing business by not letting customers aware about them. Such food items are sold in the supermarkets without labeling them in a proper manner and also they are available to the public without complete and clear safety results (Teitel and Wilson 23).
According to the aforementioned statement, the author is trying to emphasize on the fact that since there are no checks and balances on the genetically modified food, the altered products are now easily making their way into the supermarkets (Harlander and Roller; Miller and Spoolman). It clearly shows that genetically modified food is being consumed across the world on a daily basis and in large quantities without realizing the harmful effects on health (Teitel and Wilson; Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 119).
There are numerous types of health problems that may result from the intake of genetically modified food. The health problems mainly include different types of allergies, increased toxicity, antibiotic resistance, etc. It should be noted that the risks are countless (Miller and Spoolman; Harlander and Roller 117). Surprisingly, the food allergy that is caused by genetically modified food affects 5% of children while 2% of adults are affected annually because of its intake in the United States.
According to health researchers, allergies occur mainly due to the reason that some protein enters the human body and stimulates the human immune system (Carter, Moschini, and Sheldon; Freedman). If the source of the protein in that genetically modified food comes from some source that has never been consumed as human food then, that can cause problems for humans (Freedman). The body fails to react in a normal way, and it unbalances the body mechanism. Furthermore, it should also be noted that increased toxicity is another health problem of the genetically processed food. It is noted that most of the plants that are genetically cultivated produce elements that are toxic to human health (Smith; Carter, Moschini, and Sheldon). However, majority of the plants that are consumed by humans produces these toxins at relatively low levels.
These plants do not do any harm to human health because of their low toxin level. On the contrary, the genetically modified food is prepared from plants that have usually high toxin level, which becomes dangerous for humans (Carter, Moschini and Sheldon; Miller and Spoolman 89; Miller and Spoolman). Despite the fact that genetic engineering is a relatively new field, and the long term impacts and results are unclear, researchers and manufacturers are depending more and more on this industry for the formation of food.
According to Martin Teitil and Kimberly Ann Wilson, “As we eat genetically altered food and read about new safety tests, we may start to realize that we are the unwitting and unwilling guinea pigs in the largest experiment in human history, involving our entire planet’s ecosystem, food supply, and the health and very genetic makeup of its inhabitants” (Teitel and Wilson 15). It clearly suggests that the author is trying to argue that genetically modified food have almost destroyed the ecosystem.
Furthermore, he is also referring humans to guinea pigs as they are becoming more declined towards the processed and genetically modified food rather than the organic one. In addition to the aforementioned information, it is understood that there is a gradual increase in the number of health issues across the globe (Freedman). It is because of the increased intake of genetically modified food (Teitel and Wilson; Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 190).
According to Teitel and Wilson, it is believed that traditional / organic plants have more nutritional values than those that are cultivated using artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The genetically modified plant that is used for the making of modified food does not have the same amount of nutritional values as its traditional counterpart (Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 75; Harlander and Roller). Furthermore, it is also noted that the quality of such food is also not as high and enhanced as the traditional or organic ones. Therefore, it sometimes becomes difficult / unavailable/ indigestible for humans.
There are numerous examples to support the statement; for example, phytate is a common compound that is used in seeds and grains and for the binding of minerals. It makes it almost indigestible for humans whereas it has also low nutritional values (Miller and Spoolman). According to research, it was revealed that a low level of phytoestrogen compounds are found genetically modified soybeans. The phytoestrogen compounds are relatively greater in quantity in organic soybeans and helps in preventing heart diseases and cancer (Carter, Moschini, and Sheldon; Miller and Spoolman).
Teitel and Wilson raised doubts about the process through which genetically modified food is produced. It is less known how genetic modifications actually affect the food, and the outcome of such modifications can have unknown results (Teitel and Wilson 45). Thus, the author is highlighting the adverse consequences of genetically modified food (Miller and Spoolman; Miller and Spoolman).
It is understood that consumers are always kept in dark as producers do not disclose information related to the use of artificial or harmful fertilizers and pesticides. The process seems that the human a part of some uncontrolled and unregulated mass human experiment whose consequences are unknown (Teitel and Wilson 34). The experimentalists and researchers know that humans are their main targets and if they will get to know the consequences then they are going to resist and the consumption of genetically modified food will decline (Harlander and Roller; Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 156). For this reason, researchers and manufacturers never label the genetically modified ingredients on the product knowing all its dangers. Despite the fact that genetically modified food harms human health in a variety of ways, experts, and researchers are declined towards making more food that is altered as per the formulas. Furthermore, researchers and scientists are also aware of the fact that once humans will get to know about the cons and dangers of genetically modified food they will resist it therefore they have stopped labeling the products (Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 98). They are well aware of the fact that the world is consuming the genetically modified product in a large quantity at present and by the time they will realize or know, it will be too late to reverse the impact or the damage.
As Teitel and Wilson is of the view that most of the items sold in the US retail chains are genetically modified. However, due to the unavailability of information and lack of display of correct and complete information by sellers and producers it is impossible for customers to learn about these products and make their decisions to avoid them (Teitel & Wilson, 2001). It is because of this reason that millions of people across the world are consuming genetically modified food without knowing its dangers, harms, and potential health risks (Carter, Moschini and Sheldon; Miller and Spoolman).
Jeffery Smith explained in his book that all the efforts to inform consumers have been quashed, and reliable science has been buried (Smith; Harlander and Roller 156). It is understood that the manufacturers and food makers have crossed the ethical boundaries and limits and that is why they are now avoiding informing the public of the genetically modified ingredients in the product as they know that it is harmful and will affect the individual’s health. Thus, it is important for consumers to know and to realize what they are eating, as the dangers and potential threats of genetically modified food are very greater (Freedman; Teitel and Wilson 14).
Keeping in view the aforementioned discussion in mind, it can be concluded that genetically modified food is highly dangerous for human health and can cause a number of health problems. Numerous authors, reporters, researchers and nutritionists have presented their concern over the issue however their efforts have gone in vain. To note, there are countless health problems associated with genetically modified food, which can harm human health in no time (Carter, Moschini, and Sheldon). Scientists are avoiding presenting the information of the genetically modified ingredients on the products as it may stir negative response from the consumer (Carter, Moschini and Sheldon 78). Furthermore, they will also get to know about the potential threats that such food can have on their health. Thus it is important that the concerned authorities should take actions against genetically modified food as it has now become a global health issue and the health of the entire world is at stake as there is a rapid increase in the consumption of such food on a regular basis.
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