Written by Dr. Shalini Aul, MBBS, DND | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff / ms. sheela philomena, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Jun 22, 2018

Health Issues

It is a bit scary to know that there are inadequate studies being conducted on genetically modified foods and the effects on human beings and animals have not yet been studied or evaluated in depth.

In the United States of America there was a deadly epidemic in the 1989’s related to the use of genetically engineered supplement L-tryptophan, which was found to have multiple contaminants causing diseases in humans. It caused a puzzling new disease called Eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) and was striking Americans across the country. The official toll of EMS in the United States numbered 37 dead, 1535 permanently disabled, and more than 5000 temporarily afflicted. In 1991 - L-tryptophan was banned from sale in the US and other countries followed suit.

Some of the genetically modified foods when consumed, have been found to be toxic on animals affecting multiple organs and systems such as kidney, pancreas, liver, reproductive organs, heart and the alimentary tract - Example : Mice fed with GM potatoes transformed with a Bacillus thuringiensis variant kurstaki Cry1 toxin gene have caused villus epithelial cell hypertropy and distrupted microvilli.

Some of the the Genetically modified foods have been responsible for altering the immunological, biochemical and hematological effects in animals resulting in many diseases such as cancers and respiratory disorders plus other allergic reactions and death – no example is provided

Transgenes are liable to be resistant to digestion and stomach acids. They are capable of infecting not only the gut bacteria, but causing toxicity to other organs including passing through the blood brain barrier and the placenta into the fetus.

Antibiotic resistant diseases are most likely to develop with innumerable pesticides living in our gut!

Political, Social and Consumer Issues:

  • The world’s food production can be controlled by a few industrialized and developed countries.
  • The natural resources of the country can be exploited, and biohazardous plants and animals can be introduced which amounts to bioterrorism.
  • Monitory issues could be given more importance and the results of the new advances skewed in the interest of the rich and powerful biotechnology companies.
  • The companies into genetic technology can engineer and patent their crops so that the third world farmers are forced to buy seeds from these companies, as the saved seeds cannot be replanted and reproduced.
  • The consumer who would prefer to eat organically grown natural foods is forced to eat genetically modified foods on products, which are non-labeled. This is an infringement of the basic rights of consumers.

These burning issues are genuine and hair rising. Hazardous epidemics are waiting to occur, if these problems are not dealt with adequate scientific evidence, before we give a green signal to the introduction of genetically modified foods in the market. Instead of increasing the production of genetically modified foods, shouldn’t we strive to grow more organically grown food and animals, which would be in sync with nature?

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