Altered Bio-engineed Foods

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Bio-engineered foods with genes derived from animals, fish, insects and bacteria are now appearing in Canadian stores. Bio-engineered foods are the process by artificially transferring the genes of one organism to another. Research shows that there already have been deaths noted in North America due to a genetically engineered food supplement. Given the huge complexity of the genetic code, not one person will be able to predict the effects of introducing new genes into any plant or organism.

Genes are the blueprints for every part of an organism. Every plant or animal is different as a result of the different genetic genes contained within the cells of that organism. Bio-engineered foods are the process of modifying by artificially transferring the genes of one organism to another such as the insertion of genes from any plant or animal into any other organism.

As a result of this process, scientists feel that foods, which are not properly tested, could pose serious health risks.

Studies note that there have been at least 37 people killed in North America by the genetically engineered food supplement known as "tryptophan".

The transnational biotech companies who in part control large segments of the world's food supply are only looking at the short-term commercial gain. In the entirety, the world population is being used as a global experiment.

Even though these biotech companies claim that their methods are precise, the fact remains that there will always be an uncertainty as to where the inserted gene is going to land. In addition, they cannot be certain either of how the gene may act when placed in a new host or the functioning of the host organism could be unpredictably altered. Genetic engineering poses the greatest danger because genetic mistakes can never be recalled.

Lastly, many genetically engineered food additives and enzymes have also been approved including "amylase", "catalase", and "lactase" which are used to produce a wide range of products some of which are bread, baby food, sugar, fruit juices, baking powder, soft drinks, corn syrup, and other processed foods. Other genetically altered foods are soybeans and canola oil. These come from plants genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides, which allows farmers to spray higher levels of herbicides without damaging crops. Soybeans are used in approximately 60% of processed foods including margarine, ice cream, breads, cereals, pastas, Soya sauce, tofu, vegetarian burgers and meat substitutes.

In closing, farm animals are now being genetically altered with human genes to provide replacement parts for human transplants or to provide human factors to treat diseases. As over 4,000 approved projects are in progress worldwide; the global market is about to be flooded with genetically modified products.