Genetically Modified Foods

Introduction

            Since the introduction of genetically modified organisms, heated debates have been spurred regarding the suitability of this new development in the context of conventional methods of food production. The foods resulting from GMOs have been construed to have far reaching consequences on various domains such as health, sustainability and the environment. The health issue has however dominated the controversies and debates. Whereas some have argued that the foods are important in ameliorating health and countering other ripple health problems emanating from food shortage, other have raised serious concerns about (potential) negative effects of the foods. This proposal seeks to provide a working framework for analysis and research about the effects of genetically modified foods on human health.

Background and Literature Review

            The burgeoning technology that has characterized the contemporary world has had diverse applications in equally diverse domains. Food production as well as crop and animal husbandry have received tremors of the technological advancements-biotechnology (Scholderer, Verbeke & NRP, 2012). Perhaps the shortage of food with increasing population might have necessitated embracing technology in food production. The need to increase food security and increase food availability against increasing consumption (as population soars) may also have spearheaded the introduction of technology in food production (Forman, 2010). Other benefits associated with the outcome of producing food using genetic engineering, like the nutrient value cannot be overlooked when analyzing the introduction of genetically modified foods (Young & IUCN, 2004).  The GMOs that give rise to genetically modified foods do not however come without certain drawbacks whether on health, and other areas. GMOs have for instance been accused of robbing farmers of valuable source of fodder or pasture, as the genetically modified crops are dwarf and do not produce as much fodder as the conventional ones.

The introduction of the Flavr Savr tomato from California and its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994 marked the proliferation of genetically modified foods in the market and in households’ kitchens (Forman, 2010). Also known as biotech foods, genetically modified foods depict rations that are produced from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms in this case are plants and animals whose normal genetic structure has been altered in order to achieve desired ends. Modification of the genes apparently aims at introducing certain and specific qualities that contribute to higher quality and larger output than the conventional methods.

Thus, the foods resulting from such modification have additional ‘favorable’ qualities. Such qualities may include increased yields, reduced production period, resistance to pests and diseases, added nutritional value and so on. There have however, been controversies on the issue of genetically modified foods that have been raised by different groups within the society. The foods have been castigated for their potential (or real) impacts on environment, sustainability and most importantly on health. On the issue of health (which forms the essence of the paper), genetically modified foods have been linked with negative effects than the traditional foods.

Objectives

            The major objective of the research is to investigate the effect of the genetically modified foods on health. On this note, the objective will encompass establishing a relationship between the foods and human health. This way, the genetically modified foods will be described either as supportive of good human health and having debilitating effects. This is where the long term and short term effects of the foods will be made explicit. Another objective will be to establish what specific kind of health benefits and specific negative health impacts genetically modified foods have on human beings.

Justification

            The research on genetically modified foods is important firstly in understanding the underpinnings of GMOs. Persons are likely to engage in informed and constructive discussion on the issue of GMOs and genetically modified foods. It is also important to address the issues on a wider scale because of the equally wider implications the subject has.  The issue touches the realms of important sectors of the society and developments. These include matters of health, sustainable development and ecological or environmental considerations. The results of ensuing research about the effect of genetically modified foods would be useful in providing insights about the effect of the foods on health. This would provide a salient platform where pertinent policies can be shaped to guide the course of production of genetically modified foods. The research would be pivotal in assessing the suitability of the foods not only in regard to the foods-society congruence but also on the foods-health relationship. In addition, the result of the research would guide the course of decision making in relation to regulation of genetically modified foods.

Research Methodology

Data or information concerning the effects of genetically modified foods on human health is inevitable if succinct conclusion is to be made. In order to establish the effects of genetically modified foods on human beings, various research methodologies will be used. In this regard secondary sources of data or methodologies will be used. Secondary sources will encompass analysis of information (scientific) published on the issue of genetically modified foods and health. Thus, the source of information will be scholarly work about the effects of genetically modified foods on health.

 

 

References:

Forman, L. E. (2010). Genetically modified foods. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub.

Scholderer, J., Verbeke, W., & National Research Programme NRP 59 “Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants”. (2012). Genetically Modified Crop Production: Social Sciences, Agricultural Economics, and Costs and Benefits of Coexistence. Zürich: vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zürich.

Young, T. R., & IUCN Policy and Global Change Group. (2004). Genetically modified organisms and biosafety: A background paper for decision-makers and others to assist in consideration of GMO issues. Gland: IUCN.

           

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