Saturday, September 11, 2010

Franken Food

Genetically modified foods are made from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to chemicals to create a artificial yet stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding (plant breeding and animal breeding), and somaclonal variation. Bans In 2002, Zambia cut off the flow of Genetically Modified Food from UN’s World Food Program. This left a famine-stricken population without food ssistence.[ In December 2005 the Zambian government changed its mind in the face of further famine and allowed the importation of GM maize. However, the Zambian Minister for Agriculture Mundia Sikatana has insisted that the ban on genetically modified maize remains, saying “We do not want genetically modified foods and our hope is that all of us can continue to produce non-GM foods In April 2004 Hugo Ch├ívez announced a total ban on genetically modified seeds in Venezuela. In January 2005, the Hungarian government announced a ban on importing and planting of genetic modified maize seeds, which was subsequently authorized by the EU. On August 18, 2006, American exports of rice to Europe were interrupted when much of the U.S. crop was confirmed to be contaminated with unapproved engineered genes, possibly due to accidental cross-pollination with conventional crops. On February 9, 2010, Indian Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, imposed a moratorium on the cultivation of GMF “for as long as it is needed to establish public trust and confidence”. His decision was made after protest from several groups responding to regulatory approval of the cultivation of Bt brinjal, a GM eggplant in October, 2009. Intellectual property Traditionally, farmers in all nations saved their own seed from year to year. Allowing to follow this practice with genetically modified seed would result in seed developers losing the ability to profit from their breeding work. Therefore, genetically-modified seed are subject to licensing by their developers in contracts that are written to prevent farmers from following this traditional practice. Many objections to genetically modified food crops are based on this change. Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser Enforcement of patents on genetically modified plants is often contentious, especially because of gene flow. In 1998, 95-98 percent of about 10 km2 planted with canola by Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser were found to contain Monsanto Company’s patented Roundup Ready gene although Schmeiser had never purchased seed from Monsanto. The initial source of the plants was undetermined, and could have been through either gene flow or intentional theft. However, the overwhelming predominance of the trait implied that Schmeiser must have intentionally selected for it. The court determined that Schmeiser had saved seed from areas on and adjacent to his property where Roundup had been sprayed, such as ditches and near power poles. Although unable to prove direct theft, Monsanto sued Schmeiser for piracy since he knowingly grew Roundup Ready plants without paying royalties. The case made it to the Canadian Supreme Court, which in 2004 ruled 5 to 4 in Monsanto’s favor. The dissenting judges focused primarily on the fact that Monsanto’s patents covered only the gene itself and glyphosate resistant cells, and failed to cover transgenic plants in their entirety. All of the judges agreed that Schmeiser would not have to pay any damages since he had not benefited from his use of the genetically modified seed. In response to criticism, Monsanto Canada’s Director of Public Affairs stated that “It is not, nor has it ever been Monsanto Canada’s policy to enforce its patent on Roundup Ready crops when they are present on a farmer’s field by accident…Only when there has been a knowing and deliberate violation of its patent rights will Monsanto act. Can you believe that scientists are now actually modifying plants to manufacture pharmaceutical compounds (a technique known as “pharming”), trees which will yield fruit and nuts much earlier in the season than they would naturally, plants that produce new kinds of plastics, and fish that reproduce more rapidly! What are Genetically Modified Organisms ? Farmers have had free seeds in America for 600 years, and now these same free seeds are owned by private sector corporations. Scientists have been and are currently introducing genetic material into organisms to alter, create and affect changes in living plants and animals. These radical changes scientists are developing create specific, desirable traits that might never evolve naturally and in my opinion are extremely dangerous. Collectively called recombinant DNA technology, this practice changes the core genetic make-up of organisms. This genetic manipulation gives scientists the ability to create any trait that they wish, or suppress natural traits they don’t want. There are several reasons this unnatural genetic manipulation may affect you. It’s usually not clear which consumables have been genetically manipulated. You don’t know the long term health effects of these genetically modified foods. Initial research has shown that short-term reactions can be severe. Agro-chemical companies and the government are planning to charge farmers fees to grow their GM crops, thereby negatively affecting the economy and environment. Cultivated Genetically Modified Foods – From bacteria (E. coli) and fungus, fruits and vegetables to animals, genetic manipulation is becoming more and more common in our society. In the US market now, 60 to 70% of the processed foods are genetically modified. In 2006, United States GMO crops reached just shy of 135 million acres, with the total global area exceeding 250 million acres!1 This is a short list of the genetically modified food crops that are grown in the US today: Sugar cane , Sweet peppers, Tomatoes, Bananas ,Strawberries , Soy bean Corn Potatoes , Pineapples ,Cocoa beans ,Yellow squash Zucchini REFERENCES Brief 35: Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2006, Accessed Nov 2007. Available for purchase, The True Food Shopping Guide,, from The True Food Network, 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods, by Nathan Batalion, Ibid. American Rice Banned in Many Countries After Genetic Contamination,, by Thomas Whitman, ed., Ecological Farming Association, August 21, 2006 Health Begins in The Colon, ©2007, by Dr. Edward F. Group III, p. 131 Pharm Phresh Frankenfoods,, by Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly, 7Oct02 Genetically Modified Foods: Are They a Risk to Human/Animal Health?, by Arpad Pusztai. An original article
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  1. I lately stumble across your site and have been reading from time to time. I thought I should leave my first comment. Anyhow You have a nice blog. I will come back your blog soon.

  2. I love to eat variety of food. I like this post. Good to read about Franken Food.

  3. Franken Foods are only natural that we cringe at the artificial.

  4. The blog was very nice! Tons of great information and motivation, both of which we all need!

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