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THE EFFECTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS The term Genetically Engineered Foods brings a slight fear to the mind

of the average individual. The theme Is the production of Genetically Modified Food the answer to widespread hunger in Jamaica? was chosen because the writer is concerned about the foods that are grown and eaten in our societies. Little do we know of the foods that we consume on a daily basis and its full time we become cognizant of what we are doing to ourselves and the society each time we simply open a tin of corns or even pull the lid off a box of milk. But before we can fully understand what these foods are doing to us, we must first understand what is done to them to make them differ from what can be considered the norm. What is Biotechnology? What is Genetic Engineering and what are Genetically Modified foods? According to Biological Science 1 & 2 by D.J Taylor, N. Green and G. Stout, Biotechnology is the application of organisms, biological system or biological processes to manufacturing and servicing industries. It went on to state that Genetic Engineering is the altering the genes of a living organism to produce a Genetically Modified Object (GMO) with a new genotype. Some persons deem this as the most beneficial scientific breakthrough ever, however for others it is a global time bomb ticking away slowly just waiting to cause genocide of our human race. These opposing views have sparked numerous debates and these varying opinions will be explored in this essay. Genetically modified foods pose a vast amount of health risks. As genes are transferred, allergens may also be transferred with them. According to the Microsoft Encarta Reference Library In an attempt to increase the nutritional value of soybeans, a genetic engineering firm experimentally transferred into soybean plants a Brazil-nut gene that produces a nutritious

protein. However, a study conducted showed that persons were becoming sick due to the fact that the genetically engineered soybeans caused an allergic reaction in people sensitive to Brazil nuts. The pathogenic or disease causing organisms used in some recombinant DNA experiments may also develop into extremely infectious forms that could cause worldwide epidemics. The most dangerous thing about the genetically modified foods is their unknown effects on our bodies. Children living around genetically modified rice fields in India are mysteriously developing leukemia. Are we really going to continue swallowing these suicidal pills of ignorance?

With a growing global population, the demand for food is becoming greater and the amount of land space available for cultivation is also reducing. Millions of people in Africa and throughout the world are starving. Scientists are enabled to enhance food production levels by engineering plants to give higher yields and be more resistant to disease, frost, drought, and stress. Many experts use this to justify the genetic modification of our foods. In an article from the Jamaica Observer, the director of international programs and food science lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Mr. Winston Jones has openly supported the consumption of genetically-modified (GM) foods despite fears in quarters of various health risks. He stated "I am not so much against GM foods if it is going to ensure that people have what to eat. Are you telling me that those people in Somalia and Ethiopia and those places are going to care what kind of beans they get? There is nothing to say it's not safe. Many things on the market are GM. The most important thing is that we are feeding the hungry people.]

Not only does genetically modified foods affect our bodies and environment, but they also affect our pockets. The cost of consumer goods and the cost of farming has increased since

the introduction of GMs. All genetically modified organisms are subject to intellectual property law. Traditionally, farmers in all nations saved their own seed from year to year. But now that GM seeds are used, they are prohibited by law to do so. According to statistics from Wikipedia, Corn producers generally have not saved seeds since the early 1900s and the average cost of faming corn has significantly increased since then due to the advent of hybrid corn through selective breeding. The article went on to state that not only is it illegal for farmers to save these seeds, but the quality and quantity of products obtained from the save seeds will be greatly diminished and the farmers will not make profits. Wikipedia also stated that In 1998 Genetic Modifying Foods Monsanto Company sued Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser for farming 10 km2 of canola containing their patented Roundup Ready gene although Schmeiser had never purchased seed from Monsanto. In India today the living standards of rice farmers have dropped as they are unable to pay these GM companies the price for their seeds. This ultimately leads to stress and the result is an increase in the suicidal rate of these countries.

A balanced diet is extremely hard to come by especially in situations where one hardly has enough to eat. Numerous children and grown persons alike around the globe suffer from nutrient deficiencies, however through genetic engineering man has gained the ability to incorporate all the essential nutrients and vitamins into a single fruit or vegetable. Malnutrition is especially common in third world countries where impoverished people rely on a single crop such as rice for the main staple of their diet. Unfortunately, rice does not contain adequate Amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. Information gathered from Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences have created a strain of "golden" rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A). This will help to eliminate blindness due to lack of vitamin A in third world countries.

As beneficial as this phenomena of genetic engineering might be to society, any sound minded Christian person will question the ethics behind it. Is it wrong to tamper with Gods creation? Is it a sin to consume these foods? Many religious leaders have protested against genetic engineering and one popular verse from the bible used to justify their claims comes from Leviticus 19:19. This verse says You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. Other verses from the bible also are used to fight against the application of genetics. In Matthew 15:13 the scripture says He answered, Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. God wants to see an end to sickness, suffering, and death. The Bible book of Revelation foretells a time when God will intervene in human affairs. Of that time, we read: [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away. These sweeping changes will not come as a result of the scientific breakthroughs of humans but only by God and through Him.

One may question the sources from where these data were collected. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library played a crucial role. This product is used worldwide and it was written by highly qualified experts in the various fields. From the first Encarta was released in 1993, it has consistently provided valid and reliable information on current topics from high authority sources. An article from the Jamaican Observer was also a source. This daily newspaper has a long tradition of excellence. People believe that this newspaper defines validity since it has published so many articles which have solid foundations and bring about the results or ends intended. In the article used the gleaner published information from a high authority source in the form of Mr. Winston Jones. It is a reliable source as its information is often the truth and people

trust it. The bible has been used by Christians for centuries and it is believed by many to be the most accurate book on the planet. This is indeed a reliable source. Finding the right theme to present on posed a challenge as genetic engineering stirs up debates in other forms apart from the foods we eat, but its application in the foods we eat was selected as this affects everyone in the world. It was a major challenge to find information from reliable sources as this is a very controversial and current topic and a plethora of information is present. However, only renowned sources were selected which presented factual information from experts in the field of Biotechnology.

It is a fact that Genetically-modified foods have the potential to solve many of the world's hunger and malnutrition problems. But we must realize that there are many possible complications which exist with the use of them such as various health and environmental risks. Are we really going to put ourselves and our environment at risk for our own personal benefits? Is God against us altering his creations? We must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health and the environment as a result of our enthusiasm for this powerful technology.