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Biotech Food

.. than before with less space. Bacteria have been reengineered to produce rennet, which is an enzyme used to make cheese and is widely used by U.S. cheese producers. Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) is made for engineered bacteria and is used to increase milk production in cows.

BGH is currently being used by approximately 10% of the U.S. dairy farms. Some other benefit expected in the near future are reduced levels of natural toxins in the plants, extending the shelf life of food, and simpler and faster methods in located pathogens, toxins and contaminants. Some products being released soon with these benefits are healthier oils, sweeter peas with higher plant yields, bananas and pineapples with delayed ripening qualities and higher protein rice using genes transferred from peas. Further in the future it is expected to help avoid starvation as the world population grows to over 10 billion people by the year 2050.

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This is expected to be accomplished by increasing a crop’s ability to withstand drought and other environmental factors. The benefits expected down the road include safe foods with less allergenic proteins, drought and flood resistance, and tolerance to salt, metals, heat and cold. OPPONENTS This part is going to touch on some of the opponents to genetically modified (GM) foods. One of the biggest is the Prince of Wales and all of England. The Prince has been very vocal in the past on this issue he has given a few speeches and even starting an online forum on the subject.

He is pushing for public debate on GM food. He believes GM is more than just an extension of selective breeding techniques that mixing genetic material from different species that would normally not breed takes us into areas that should be left to God. He says we should not meddle with the building block of life. He does feel that genetic manipulation could lead to good in the field of medicine, agriculture and the health of the environment, but that advanced technology brings dangers with it also. He, along with several others, think that herbicide resistant crops will lead to more chemicals being used on crops not less.

Him and others says that the trait for herbicide resistance will spread to wild plant life and make weeds that are resistant to weed killer as well. If plants produce there own pesticides it will kill the good bugs as well as the bad ones. Also, with the pesticide everywhere in a crop, it will lead to a tolerance to the pesticide on the part of the bugs and they will eventually be immune to it. During pollination and with winds the pollen can spread from the GM crops to conventional and organic crops contaminating them. He wonders about the claims that GM crops are needed to feed the world’s growing population.

He thinks it is more a lack of money than a lack of food that is the problem. The representatives of 20 African states, including Ethiopia, have published a statement saying that GM crops will not help their farmers produce the food that will be needed in the 21 century. In fact, they think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems and undermine their capacity to feed themselves. He also wonders how the developers of all this technology are planning to make a profit from selling their product to the poorest parts of the world where they claim it is need the most. He feels it would be better to concentrate on sustainable techniques that can double or triple the yields from the traditional farming systems.

England has been pushing for labeling requirements to inform the consumer that food is genetically altered, so that they can make their own decision as to whether they want to eat it or not. The questions raised by opponents are Is it safe? so far there is nothing showing that it is not, but there is also not much data showing that it is either. Why are the rules for approving GM foods less stringent than those for new medicines produced using the exact same technology? If GM food is going into our bodies just as medications do, it should be subject to the same testing. What is the effects on the environment? Laboratory test have already shown in the U.S. that the pollen from GM corn has damaged the caterpillars that turn into the Monarch butterflies, if it can hurt them what is it doing to other species? They are not even testing the corn it is in widespread production and this should have been caught if testing had been done. It should have been caught by the company that makes the seeds or by the regulatory authorities that let the seeds be sold on the market.

It would make sense to plant a small test section of a crop and see what will happen. If something goes wrong with a GM crop, who will be held responsible? This is a big one who is going to be legally liable for the damage, whether it is to human health, the environment, or both. Will it be the company who produced and sold the seeds, the farmer who grew it based on being told it is safe, or will it be everyone which is the case with BGH. There has been a statement put out by a group of scientists from 13 countries all over the world calling for a moratorium on GM crops and an outright ban on patents of GM seeds. They put out to all the governments of the world this statement and have asked the governments to do the following: Impose an immediate moratorium on further environmental releases of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products for at least 5 years.

Ban patents on living organisms, cell lines and genes. Support a comprehensive, independent public inquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all, taking account of the full range of scientific finding as well as socioeconomic and ethical implications. They are concerned that there needs to be more testing due to growing evidence of hazards to biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health. They do not feel that neither the need nor the benefits of genetic engineering of agriculture have been proven. They say that new scientific evidence warrants an immediate moratorium.

They say that cross pollination is already happening creating many species of superweeds and that the chances of transgenes spreading to other plant is 30 times more likely than a plant spreading its own genes. These 61 scientists have me convinced after reading their statement that the governments need to put a halt to this and have further testing and refining done before anymore are grown commercially.


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