The development of genetically modified food has been termed as one of the most important breakthrough in the field of biotechnology. This technology has taken the world with its huge promise of radically transforming the area of food production. As Bakshi (2003) confirm, the use of biotechnology has been seen as way of improving the amount and quality of food production as well as the environment. With this in mind, many countries have established the use of this technology in their agricultural practice for the purpose of reaping benefit associated with this technology. While the use of genetically modified food seems to be essential in ensuring that there is enough food available to people, it has been revealed that genetically modified food have some negative impacts on heath. Despite the benefits of genetically modified food, its usage has presented more health risks than benefits since it has been found introduce toxic materials and cause allergies which have adverse effects to human’s health.
Benefits of genetically modified food
a) The introduction of the genetically modified food has been regarded by biotechnologist as the way forward in term of fighting scarcity of food and improvement of nutrition in world’s food production. Key, Drake and Julian (2008) believe that the genetically modified food will prove useful especially on developing world’s where cases of malnutrition are high. The use of genetically modified food has been regarded as an answer to the need of overcoming diseases and parasites in food production. With diseases and parasites contribution to low production of food, scientist have found out that resistant genes can be passed into crops thus improving their resistance towards some of the diseases and pest that are known to cause poor yields in farming (Alink et. Al., 2008).However these has introduced genes to human body systems that are known to cause resistance to some drugs
b) Additionally, biotechnology has been praised for the development of genetically modified food whose yield surpasses that of normal crops. As hug (2008) outline, there has been an increased production of food crops that effect has been the decrease in the cases of malnutrition as well as low yield. Hug (2008) proceeds to cite the case of the Golden rice which has been developed and tested in some areas for its efficiency. This type of rice which is a product of biotechnology has been termed as a lasting solution to the deficiencies of vitamin A in children. Thus through the use of this genetically modified food, it is believed that children will experience few problems associated with deficiency of Vitamin A particularly those in developing worlds. Contrary to the expectation that such rice poses no health risks, Key, Drake and Julian (2008) contend that genetically modified have been found to have adverse effect to the rats used for testing. The potential toxins are believed to be harmful to humans too.
Health risks associated with genetically modified food
c) While it may seem that genetically modified foods are safe to consume with little effect being felt on human health, this assertion is not true. Instead, there are credible research studies that point out the adverse effect of the genetically modified food on the human health. Bakshi (2003) indicate that some studies conducted in Brazil on some of the genetically modified food particularly the Soya beans revealed cases of allergies on the people who consumed them. These allergies were seen as fatal and as a result of the introduction of particular strains of genetic material that reacted with immunoglobulin leading to fatal allergic reactions. Whereas genetically modified food may present benefits such as increased nutritional content in food, the prevalence of allergenic tendencies far outweigh the use of the food since their occurrence can cause serious health risk to human and perhaps death. For the reason of allergic reactions, the use of genetically modified is more of a health risk than benefit.
d) The introduction on new stains into some crops in order to improve them has been one of the main reasons as to why genetically modified food has been embraced in numerous countries to aid in food generation. This been achieved thought the use of some genetic material perceived to have certain characteristic that are desirable for particular feature to be observed such as resistance to disease. However, such genetic modification has been known to cause toxic substances which are harmful to human health when these foods are consumed by humans. As compared to improving the levels of resistance of crops, being free from toxic substance take precedence. Of concern has be the over expression of particular food material that can cause the human body to react with fatality in a manner that puts human at risks (Bakshi 2003). Key, Drake and Julian (2008) have also mentioned the risk that is associated with transgene which can be found in bioengineered crops. Such toxic substances cause adverse health effect and thus manifest the harmful effect of genetic modification of crops on heath.
The introduction of genetically modified food has been received with a lot of relief being that such crops have been taken to have benefits in terms of nutritional quality, yield and even resistance to disease. Though such benefits have been noted, genetically modified food has been found to cause cases of allergies and other toxicity in human bodies if consumed. With such serious health hazard been associated with genetically modified food, there is need to for further studies to be carried in this area so as to find way and mean of eliminating the dangers associated with this technology in order to make it avail more benefits but less effect to humans as a result of its consumption.