The term GMO foods is an acronym for Generically Modified Organism. Each organism has a part that controls its various properties. Whose name is Jean. Suppose the leaves of a tree are green. The leaves of this tree are green because it contains chlorophyll and chlorophyll is made in the tree because there is a gene that can produce chlorophyll in the tree. The human body produces insulin due to chromosome No. 1. When this gene is isolated, the bacteria begin to prepare for insulin. And this is how insulin is preserved for many patients. This genetically modified bacteria is called GMO.
Transgenic foods are genetically modified products produced using genetic engineering techniques. Through these techniques, it is possible to insert genes from different organisms into a species, providing new characteristics to the product. These genes, which may be from other plants, animals or even microorganisms, could not be transferred naturally; therefore, everything is done in the laboratory.
Transgenic Foods in the World
n many countries, the consumption of transgenic foods is legal, while in others, its adherence is far from being effective.In the latter case, we can mention Japan, whose commercialization of genetically modified foods is rejected.The countries that lead the production of GM foods are the United States, Argentina, Canada, China, as well as Brazil.In the world, the foods produced in greater quantity are maize, soy, cotton and canola. The most prevalent crop on the planet is herbicide-resistant soy.GM foods of animal origin can also be modified. In 2012, the American company “ Food and Drug Administration ” (FDA) approved the consumption of the first genetically modified animal, a type of salmon.
Advantages and Disadvantages of GM Foods
GM foods have a number of advantages and disadvantages, of which the following stand out:
Advantages of GM foods
- Higher productivity;
- Cost reduction;
- Increased nutritional potential of the food;
- Plants more resistant to pests (insects, fungi, viruses, bacteria) and pesticides , insecticides and herbicides;
- Increased plant tolerance to adverse soil and climate conditions;
- Reduction in the use of pesticides.
Disadvantages of GM foods
- Development of diseases (allergic reactions, cancer, etc.);
- Environmental imbalance (pollution of soil, water and air, disappearance of species, loss of biodiversity, contamination of seeds, etc.).
HAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS?
There are several and serious potential risks, with scientists pointing out as the main ones:
1. Increase in allergies
When a gene is inserted from one being into another, new compounds can be formed in that organism, such as proteins and amino acids. If this genetically modified organism is a food, its consumption can cause allergies in significant portions of the population, because of these new substances. For example, at the York Institute of Nutrition, England, in 1999, a survey found a 50% increase in allergy to soy-based products, stating that the result could be attributed to the consumption of genetically modified soy.
Another concern is that if the gene of a species that causes allergies in some people is used to create a transgenic product, that new product can also cause allergies, because there is a transfer of the characteristics of that species.
It happened in the United States: reactions in allergic people prevented the commercialization of a soybean that had a Brazil nut (which is a famous allergen) gene.
2. Increased resistance to antibiotics
To make sure that the genetic modification “worked,” scientists insert genes (called markers) from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This can cause increased resistance to antibiotics in humans who eat these foods. In other words, it can reduce or nullify the effectiveness of antibiotic-based drugs, which is a serious threat to public health.
3. Increase in toxic substances
There are plants and microbes that have toxic substances to defend themselves from their natural enemies, insects, for example. Most of the time, they do not harm human beings. However, if the gene for one of these plants or one of these microbes is inserted into a food, it is possible that the level of these toxins will increase a lot, causing harm to people, beneficial insects and other animals. This has already been seen with Bt transgenic corn, which can kill caterpillars of a butterfly species, the monarch butterfly, which is a pollinating agent. Even the toxicity of the substances intentionally inserted in the plants was properly evaluated. These substances are entering food with much less safety assessment than any additive, dye, pesticide or medication.
4. Higher amount of pesticide residues
With the insertion of pesticide resistance genes in certain transgenic products, pests and weeds may develop the same resistance, becoming “super-pests” and “super-herbs”. For example, Roundup Ready soybeans are resistant to the application of the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). Consequently, there will be a need to apply greater amounts of poison to plantations, which represents a greater amount of toxic waste in the food we consume. In Brazil, Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) authorized in 2004 the fifty-fold increase in the glyphosate limit allowed in soy-based foods. The damage to the environment will also be serious: greater pollution of rivers and soils and incalculable imbalances in ecosystems.