Genetically Engineered Foods Essay

733 words - 3 pages

Recently, genetically engineered foods have taken center stage on a debate over their health effects. Even though biotechnology has been around for many years, the long term effects of the "new" genetically engineered foods is unknown. This is because the new biotechnology doesn't use traditional plant breeding, but actually splices the plants at the genetic level. This type of genetic engineering is relatively new, and the health effects of these new foods are more complex than it may seem. One of the health effects of genetically engineered foods is that when someone eats it, they don't know exactly what they are eating. This is because if a gene from a food that commonly causes allergic reactions, like fish or peanuts, is inserted into tomatoes or corn, where people would not expect to find these allergens, and then it could cause a potentially fatal reaction. The easy remedy for this could be to just label all foods with known allergens in them, but what that actually means is up for debate. Some say that no labeling should be required unless it is proven that the genes from allergens actually affect the foods they are spliced with, while others say that regardless, all foods with any kind of an allergen in them should be labeled. The FDA's stance on this is that unless a company can scientifically demonstrate that the allergenic component was not transferred to the food, then it must be labeled to alert sensitive consumers. While allergens pose many serious health risks, there are many other factors that contribute to the GE foods debate. A problem that commonly arises with GE foods is that the nutritional content of a food is changed. For example, tomatoes are a major source of vitamin C. Now it could be that someone comes up with a new tomato that is much hardier and is therefore not damaged so easily. The downside of this could be that the new tomato will not be as rich in vitamin C as it was...

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