There have been many tests done on genetically modified food, to ensure the safety of the food to people, and most of the studies have shown results with no ill effects on human beings. However, no all the scientific studies received adequate coverage and publication. One example of a study that is relatively unknown to the general public was conducted by Alexey V. Surov, a Russian scientist. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto ‘s genetically modified soy led to problems in the growth or reproduction cycles of hamsters. Campbell hamsters were used, as they have a high reproduction rate, and they were divided into four groups.While all were fed regular diets, one groups was not fed soy, another fed non-genetically modified soy, the third fed genetically modified soy, and the fourth group was fed higher amounts of genetically modified soy. Five pairs of hamsters per group was used and each produced seven to eight litters, totaling 140 animals. There were 52 pups born to the control group, no soy; 78 to the non-genetically engineered soy group; 40 to the genetically altered soy group, with only 75% surviving; and the high genetically modified soy, only one female gave birth to 16 pups, and 20% died. They fed the hamsters for two years successfully over three generations carefully observing behavioral patterns and reproduction cycles. The hamsters on the genetically modified diet showed devastating results. By the third generation, most genetically modified soy-fed hamsters were infertile. There was a high mortality rate amount the pups and they also suffered a slow growth rate.One proven disadvantage of genetically altered foods is; the safety of the modified products have not yet been verified, due to the facts that successive generations of people have not been consuming them. Usually when new chemicals or products are introduced into the food production system, problems arise down the road, meaning it sometimes takes anywhere from a decade to a few generations for science to prove the health problems that could arise. While the long term effects on the ecosystem and biodiversity are unknown, by the time studies have proven anything, the effects of genetic food engineering could have become irreversible.
The 1980s marked the discovers of DNA from one species being able to be transferred into another species. The first plant to be genetically engineered was a tobacco plant, and it was altered to be immune to antibiotics. Then cotton was genetically engineered and successfully field tested in 1990. In 1995, Monsanto introduced soybeans that were herbicide-resistant. In 2000, scientists discovered that nutrients and vitamins could be added to food through modification process. Since then, many foods that are consumed by the general public on a regular basis have been genetically modified.
Genetically altered foods have not been around for very long, therefore the long term affects they could have on people, animals, and the environment will not become known for some time. Even though scientists have assured people that they are safe for consumption, there are quite a few past products that were considered safe, but then found to be highly toxic to humans, animals, and the environment. An example of such a product would be dichlorodiphenyltrichloethane (DDT). DDT was first synthesized in 1874, and it ‘s insecticidal properties were discovered in 1939. It was used in the second half of World War II to control malaria outbreaks. DDT became available for use as an agricultural insecticide after the war was over. It was not until 1962 that the true affects of DDT became known and accepted as fact. In 1972 it was banned in the United States of America, but it is still used as a disease vector control in other parts of the world, despite all the evidence that it is not healthy for people, animals, or the environment.
Another proven disadvantage to genetically altered foods are that they are unhealthy. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine urges doctors to prescribe non-genetically modified diets to all their patients. They have cited animal studies showing immune system disorders, infertility, organ damage, and accelerated aging. Human studies have shown how genetically altered food can leave material behind inside the body, potentially causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into genetically modified foods, for example, can transfer into the DNA of the bacteria living inside the human body, causing the bacteria to have similar traits as the food. For example, the toxic insecticide produced by genetically altered corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
Many health problems inclined after the introductions of genetically modified organisms in 1996. Though there is not enough sufficient research to confirm genetically altered organisms as a contributing factor, the percentage of Americans with three of more chronic illnesses jumped from seven percent to thirteen percent in nine years; food allergies skyrocketed; mental disorders, reproductive disorders, and digestive problems all rose significantly.
In addition to negatively impacting human health, genetically altered food also harms the environment. The crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, incests, marine ecosystems, soil organisms, and amphibians. Genetically altered products can pollute water resources, reduce biodiversity and are unsustainable. For example, roundup herbicide has been shown to cause organ damage in animals, birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths, and endocrine disruptions. Genetically altered canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on it herbicide tolerant genes to weeds.
An additional reason genetically modified foods should be avoided is that genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects. Mixing genes from unrelated species can create a host of unpredictable side effects. More so, the process of creating a genetically altered plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new allergens, carcinogens, toxins, and nutritional deficiencies.
Therefore, genetically modified foods are unhealthy for people, animals, and the environment and should be avoided to the best of one ‘s abilities.