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Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods (Essay Sample)


Write an argumentative essay on \"we should avoid eating genetically modified food because it has potential threat to our health\"

Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods
Genetically modified foods refer to foods that come from plants or crops that have been genetically engineered using advanced molecular biology technology. The genetically modified foods have their molecular structure altered through laboratory process to enhance specific traits such as drought resistance, nutritional content and resistance to diseases and herbicides. Genetically modified foods have found their entry into American food stores amidst public concerns on the potential risks that such foods pose to the environment and the human health. Since the inception of genetically modified foods into the American markets just a couple of years ago, they have been a center of national controversy regarding their potential health risks. More than two thirds of processed foods found in American stores contain genetically modified ingredients. These food products range from wheat, corn, rice, vegetable oils, soya beans, soft drinks, and fruits. Also, genetically modified ingredients are incorporated in animal and dairy products such as eggs, milk, meat, chicken, cheese, and pork. Infant’s formula plus diets contain a wide array of genetically modified ingredients found in tomato sauce, margarine, ice cream and peanut butter.
Though the risk of consumption of genetically modified foodstuffs is rife, public and government campaign against their consumption has been faced with numerous hurdles (Lendman). First, genetically modified foods is a multimillion dollar business in the united states and giant food companies have been competing with each other in advancing genetic modification technology to reap money and with little attention being given to public health. In addition, despite the numerous legislations that have been passed to regulate the genetically modified food production and business, there has been low public confidence that food companies would consider public health a priority as they are more focused on profits. Generally, genetically modified foodstuffs are a mystery and they have been a center of controversy raising questions among consumers, governments and scientists. Whatever the case, the risk of genetically modified foods is rife and people should refrain from eating them since they have a potential threat to their health.
Genetically modified foods interfere with the normal functioning of the human cells due to changes that they cause to the DNA, making human cells to become mutated, deleted or turned off irreversibly. In other incidences, the genes may be fragmented, truncated or mixed with other genes bringing effects and features that may be harmful to human health. Genetically modified foods have for a long time been associated with deformation of various body organs and organ systems such as the liver, gut, endocrine system, blood composition, immune system, and allergic response. The long term consequences of deformation of these organs and their systems could lead to cancer. Also, when a trans-gene enters a new cell, it may make the cell to start producing proteins that are different from the intended ones. Though the protein produced may, at times, be the same as the intended one, the resultant proteins in most cases have problems. People who are exposed to some sprays used in growing genetically modified foods may develop low immunity, excessive cell growth and a host of other human illnesses. Among the most common human illnesses linked with genetically modified foods include: bleeding stomach, stunted growth, weak immunity, abnormal cell growth in the stomach and intestines, poor blood cells development, and deformation on liver and kidney inflammation (Weirich). In addition, genetically modified foodstuffs have been linked with reduced digestive enzymes function, lung tissue inflammation, high blood pressure, and increased offspring mortality. In addition, some proteins produced during genetic modification process trigger allergic reaction when introduced to people’s bodies. An agricultural worker who works for genetically modified food companies experience severe to moderate allergic reactions involving the upper respiratory track, skin, and eyes. These allergic responses include but are not limited to sneezing, skin swelling, skin itching, asthma, running nose, and red watery eyes. People should refrain from taking genetically modified foods since they are posing a serious threat to millions of People. Virtually, everybody in America has taken genetically modified food either knowingly or unknowingly and this could already be contributing to serious health problems that have been witnesses recently in the United States. People should take personal and informed decisions to boycott buying from companies that support genetically modified foods since the government has been reluctant in regulating and monitoring the industry, exposing the vulnerable public to exploitation by food giants whose motive is profits.
Genetic engineering defies nature in creating the genetically modified foods by creating genes and plant forms that have never existed in the history of evolution. The types of diseases that exist today have not effectively been surveyed and the genetically modified foods are creating new disease traits each day. The surveillance and linkage challenge is due to the fact that the genetically modified foodstuffs are not labeled and this makes it difficult to relate specific substances with various diseases and illnesses. Even if millions of people are affected, the vulnerable members of public shall continue suffering in silence since the government regulatory agencies have left the profit motivated private companies to regulate and monitor themselves and address the reliability and safety concerns of the genetically modified foods.
Some ingredients used to induce genetic change in production genetically foods may lead to formation of new disease trends, some of which are deadly or incurable. A good example is L-tryptophan protein that had killed and harmed thousands of people before it was identified in 1980s. The protein is constituted of natural amino acids and it had been produced by giant American and Japanese companies that had seen an opportunity to reap high profits by incorporating into natural products a product that was made for inducing sleep. The bacterium gene-slicing process and its incorporation into natural products saw hundreds of people die, about 1500 crippled and nearly 10,000 other affected by blood disorder and new diseases traits that are incurable (D'Mello). Eosinophilia Myalgia syndrome is one such diseases that is caused by genetically engineered foods. It is a painful and multisystem disease that makes fibrosis and nerve tissues to scar permanently and continue inflaming, and it may result to permanent change in person’s immune system. The aforementioned statistics just represent a single incident and they are quite shocking if this is how the other engineered proteins can adversely affect public health and human lives. It has been difficult for the government to practically ban genetically modified foods from its economy due to WTOS agreement on agriculture considers such a ban a way of imposing unfair trade practices, regardless whether it affects people’s health or not. In addition, WTO considers attempts to require labeling of foods by food companies a technical barrier of trade and this makes consumers more vulnerable to eating hazardous foodstuffs since the relevant information is hidden.
To eliminate the real dangers that genetically modified foods pose to the public health and wellbeing should be addressed by all the stakeholders ranging from the medical community, patients, consumers, scientists, agribusiness owners and the government agencies. Providing educating materials and labeling of genetically engineered food products will make the public more aware and facilitate informed buying decisions by the consumers. The public should as well be educated on the long-term effects and health risks that are associated with the genetically modified foodstuffs. The health risks in question include but they are not limited to immunity deficiency, infertility, insulin regulation, accelerated ageing, and alteration of som...
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