The Benefits of Genetically Engineered Foods

The Benefits of Genetically Engineered Foods

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I.     Introduction: Genetically engineered foods could produce many benefits for our future because GE foods could promote longevity on the shelves of the stores, could be produced in drought ridden countries, and could enhance vitamins that are lacking in some countries.
II.     Background section
A.     Facts on Linda Bren and the FDA facts.
B.     FDA states that GE foods are as safe as commercial foods.
C.     Most grocery stores contain GE products.
D.     Adds longer shelf life to foods.
E.     State how no GE foods contain animal DNA yet.
F.     Grocery Store Manufacturers of America facts.
G.     Dr. Dennis research about health advantages to GE products.
H.     How GE products could benefit everyone.
I.     Advantages of possible vaccines in foods.
J.     Information on weed control.
K.     Benefits to farmers.
L.     Radin research on economic benefits.
M.     Fewer insects and information pertaining to that.
N.     Consumer polls.
O.     Labeling problems
P.     Consumer’s lack of knowledge.
Q.      FDA policies.
R.     FDA approval of GE foods.
S.     Future goals of GE companies.
T.     Europe’s opinion on genetically modified foods.
III.     Lines-of-argument section:
A.     Labeling genetically engineered products is not needed. Everyday products on the market, such as corn, canola oil is labeled, but it does not state if it is genetically engineered. The reason why is because it is no different than organic. The FDA approves the unrevealing of genetically engineered foods on the market, as it is proved to be as safe as organic foods.
B.     Drought ridden countries will soon be able to grow crops. Bioengineers are developing ways to produce crops in different types of weather conditions. One of those conditions would be drought. Rice plants with sugar genes put into them could make them tolerant to drought conditions. Cornell University has a new strategy to help this rice and other crops to become tolerant of weather conditions, such as third world countries that are normally non-producing of crops.
C.     Vaccines and vitamins are soon to be genetically modified into foods. The world’s population is growing rapidly, as well as diseases. Bioengineers is looking towards the future to help produce foods that contain vaccines and vitamins. There are numerous possibilities that they are looking at. Edible vaccine offers a wide variety of possibilities; such as less costly, and more convenient. Vitamin deficiency affects millions of people and causes blindness. Scientists are working on rice to help prevent this problem by inserting genes into rice plants.

Genetically Engineered Foods: Are They Really Safe?

Genetically engineered foods, also known as GE, are foods produced from crops whose genetic makeup has been altered through a process called recombinant DNA, or gene splicing, to give the crop a desirable trait (2).

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Genetic engineering is also defined as the copying of a gene from one plant or animal and adding it to another plant or animal.
Some of the foods that we eat such as cereals, frozen pizzas, fruit, soda, even baby foods that we feed our children are GE. Soybean is a crop that is (GE), and used in many of our products on the shelves as well, such as baby foods, breads, meats, etc.
Did you ever think about how they were processed? Well, most of these foods are genetically engineered. Linda Bren, of the FDA Consumer Magazine, stated that The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states, that scientists and farmers have been genetically engineering crops for years (2). One of the first genetically engineered crops was a tomato, which went on the market in 1994. The FDA determined that the GE tomato was as safe as other commercial tomatoes and did not rot as rapidly. Since then scientists have mixed thousands of genes from several crops attempting to weed out the unwanted traits that occur. Some of these unwanted traits would include susceptibility to drought conditions and short of shelve life. Most of the foods in grocery stores contain GE contents.
     Cornell University did research on genetic engineering recently. Cornell University states that genes are the instructions that all living things use to build and maintain their cells. Adding a new gene to a plant/crop may give it a trait that is useful to growers and consumers, also creating plants that are more resistant to insects and disease, and simplify weed control or that produce fruits with longer shelf life. Plants also contain one or just a few genes copied from common soil bacteria, plant viruses or other plants. No (GE) foods on the market today have genes copied from animals (1).
The Grocery Store Manufacturers of America estimate that between 70 and 75 percent of all processed foods available in the U.S. grocery stores may contain ingredients from genetically engineered crops. Breads, cereals, and fruits are just a few of these. Dr. Liz Dennis, a Chief Research Scientist, states that there are advantages to GE foods. One of these is that crops with defined health benefits will become available. Developing countries will have the GE rice, which will produce enhanced levels of vitamin A and elevated levels of bio-available iron (6). Dr. Liz Dennis also stated, these technologies offer solutions to dietary deficiencies that affect millions of people for whom rice is a dietary staple (6). Another advantage would be to include vaccines in plants. For example, doctors could genetically put vaccines in bananas and immunize people against diseases; this would be a great advantage for the developing world’s health. Gurian-Sherman, a co-director of the Biotechnology Project, notes another advantage,
U.S. consumers are already benefiting, at least indirectly, from the reduced use of pesticides. Companies are already working on developing fruit that could be picked ripe without becoming mushy, coffee that is naturally caffeine- free, and soybeans that do not trigger allergic reactions and that contain more healthful omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (5).
GE herbicide-tolerant crops that contain Round-up, can provide more efficient weed control than can conventional crops. Anderson discussed in The Farmers Weekly, that growing genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops could provide farmers with the flexibility to improve plant diversity by only controlling weeds when they are competing with the crop (2). Radin stated that research also found some economic benefits to farmers, in the form of less money spent on herbicides. An editorial from The Economist stated that it not only cut down on weeds, but they also found fewer butterflies, bees, and birds. (2) Monsanto’s, (bioengineering company), vice-president of affairs, told CBC News that he hopes to change some of those minds before it introduces more genetically modified seed in a few years (1). The FDA Talk Paper notes that:
Rapid developments in genomics are resulting in dramatic changes in the way new plant varieties are developed and commercialized. While the FDA has not found and does not believe that new plant varieties under development for food and feed use generally pose any safety or regulatory concerns, this guidance is consistence with FDA’s policy of encouraging communication early in the development process for a new plant variety (2).
Consumer polls conducted over the past ten years show that 80 to 90 percent of Americans support the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods GE and that 60 percent or so would attempt to avoid buying GE products. There is not more controversy about this topic in the U.S. because many consumers somehow believe that there are not any GE foods on the market. Cummins found that 47 percent of Americans believe this.
Bosch, of The Lancet, stated that Europe has a ban on genetically modified food. Bosch noted that the scientific evidence was insufficient (1). Foods, such as tomatoes, soybean, bananas, rice, and coffee, are produced and put on the market for sale. Many consumers do not know a product is genetically engineered, due to improper labeling.      The FDA approves genetic engineering and states that these foods are as safe as organic foods. Still researchers states it is still not known if GE foods cause some allergen problems, or if the vitamin A rice will work. This revolutionary research will not end as long as genetically engineered foods are being produced. The goal for these bioengineer companies, are to come up with healthier products for the consumers because that is what the consumers want.

Works Cited

Anderson, Paul. “Flexible Control With GM.” Farmers Weekly 3 Dec. 2004. 14 Feb.
Bren, Linda. “Genetic Engineering: The Future of Foods?” FDA Consumer Magazine
Nov.-Dec. 2003. 17 Feb. 2005
Bosch, Xavier. “USA Fights Europe’s Ban on Genetically Modified Foods.” Lancet 24
May 2003. 14 Feb. 2005. Ebsco Host
Cummins, Ronnie. “The Rise and Fall of ‘Franken-food’.” Earth Island Journal Winter
1999-2000. 11 Feb. 2005. Ebsco Host
Dennis, Dr. Liz. “Positions on Genetically Modified Foods” Scope 1 Feb. 2005. 23 Feb.
Ebsco Host. Research Database, Academic Search Premier. “Harvest Time.” Economist
Gurian-Sherman, Doug. “ Genetically Engineered Foods: Are They Safe?” Nutrition
Action Health Letter Nov. 2001. 11 Feb. 2005.
Miller, Karen Lowry. “Juggling Two Worlds” Newsweek 29 Nov. 2004. 14 Feb. 2005
Ebsco Host
“Monsanto Plans Genetically Genetically Modified Wheat in Five Years” Editorial.
CBC News 13 Jul. 2001. 23 Feb. 2005

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology.
“Introduction to Genetic Engineering of Food.” PSRAT Organization Website 5 Sep. 2004. 17 Jan 2005.
Radlin, John W. “How Safe Are Genetically Engineered Crops?” Agricultural Research
Sep. 2004. Ebsco Host.>.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-
biotech Applications, and The National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy. “Genetically Modified Crops in the United States.” The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. 23 Feb. 2005
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dept. of Health and Human Services. “FDA
Proposes Draft Guidance for Industry for New Plant Varieties Intended for Food Use” FDA Talk Paper 19 Nov. 2004. 17 Feb. 2005. topics/ Answers/2004/ANS01327.html.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dept. of Health and Human Services “Draft
Guidance for Industry: Recommendations for the Early Food Safety Evaluation of New Non-pesticidal Proteins Produced by New Plant Varieties Intended for Food Use.” 24 Nov. 2004

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