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Genetically-Modified Foods


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Genetically-Modified Foods

  1. 1. Genetically-Modified Foods Impacting the Food Chain and Us
  2. 2. Genetically-Modified Organisms What are GMOs? º GMOs (that is, genetically-modified organisms) are ―crops that are altered with inserted genetic material to exhibit a desired trait.‖2 • This most often refers to pesticides meant to keep crops alive. Progression º The reality of genetically-modified organisms first became possible in 1935, when Russian scientist Andrei Nikolaevitch Belozersky isolated pure DNA. º After over fifty years of continued research, the first GMO patent is issued by a five-to-four Supreme Court ruling in 1980. º By 1982, Humulin is released to the market. º The Flavr Savr tomato hits the shelves in 1994. º GMO-resistant weeds appear in 1996, as do GMO-resistant pests in 2003. º GMO crops dominate the industry in 1999, and by 2011 the Bt toxin is discovered in humans. --GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods6
  3. 3. Genetically-Modified Organisms National Opinion: Then Versus Now º The public may have been enthusiastic about the possibility of genetic modification in the early 20th century, but by 2012 the science has been vigorously opposed. º Monsanto‘s Roundup Ready line of pesticides, among other factors, have been a cause of trouble to farmers and individuals worldwide.
  4. 4. The Food Chain Design º A food chain refers to a direct passage of nutrients from one organism to another.10 º It can be more accurately described as a food web, since distribution is not even as the concept of a chain implies.10 º The fundamental unit of any food chain are the autotrophs – which are, simply, plants. Alternatively, The Food Pyramid º This cycle can also be represented as a pyramid, in which ―energy transfer [occurs] through the ecosystem from larger numbers of ‗lower‘ forms of life through suceedingly smaller numbers of ‗higher‘ forms as the organisms at one level are eaten by the organisms at the next higher level.‖10
  5. 5. The Food Chain How it Works º Plants are sustained by the process of photosynthesis and by the nutrients of decomposed elements in the soil. º These primary producers are then eaten by consumers, which fall into two categories: Primary consumers (or herbivores), and secondary consumers (or carnivores). º Consumers eventually die and decompose, which in turn feeds the plants that begin the cycle over again. How it Affects Us and Vice Versa º Humans are typically considered to be at the top of the food chain. º Chemical pollutants that have leaked into the food chain can produce harmful results which can off-set the entire cycle.
  6. 6. The Food Chain ? -- Shark Tale, 200411 x
  7. 7. The Modification Process How It Works º ―Genetic engineering [or biotechnology] uses recombinant DNA technology to transfer genetic material from one organism to another to produce plants, animals, enzymes, drugs and vaccines.‖2 º The modification process is a matter of taking the desired gene – or ―trans-gene‖ – of one element and implanting it into the desired organism – or ―target species‖ – by means of a vector that said organism will accept into its system.5 º ―They‘re completely swapping genes between the normal species barriers, creating new organisms that were not part of the evolutionary process.‖3
  8. 8. The Modification Process Types of Modification º ―Most commercial biotech crops are developed to be either herbicide tolerant, allowing herbicides to kill weeds without harming crops, or insect resistant, which protects plants from destructive pests.‖2 º ―More recently, biotechnology firms have developed genetically engineered animals, including food animals such as hogs and salmon.‖2 º ―They have spider genes that they put into goats in the hopes that they can milk the goat to get spider web protein to make bulletproof vests.‖3
  9. 9. The Modification Process FDA Approval º The Food and Drug Administration was never opposed to approving the distribution of GMO foods, though they were warned that ―genetic engineering is different from conventional breeding and poses special risks, including the production of new toxins or allergens.‖1 º ―Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not have a mandatory GM food safety assessment process and has never approved a GM food as safe. It does not carry out or commission safety tests on GM foods. Instead, the FDA operates a voluntary programme for pre-market review of GM foods. All GM food crops commercialised to date have gone through this review process, but there is no legal requirement for them to do so. Companies that develop GM crops are allowed to put any GMO … on the market that they wish, though they can be held liable for any harm to consumers that results from it.‖1
  10. 10. Monsanto Purpose and Opinion º The Monsanto Corporation is a sustainable agriculture company that is ―by far the biggest seller of GM crops in the world.‖7 • They have revolutionized the farming industry by introducing sciences and pesticides that drastically affect crops and their environments. • Monsanto‘s Roundup Ready crops – crops modified to be immune to their own line of weed killer comprise most of today‘s GMOs.3 º ―We are focused on empowering farmers—large and small—to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. We do this with our leading seed brands in crops like corn, cotton, oilseeds and fruits and vegetables. We also produce leading in-the-seed trait technologies for farmers, which are aimed at protecting their yield, supporting their on-farm efficiency and reducing their on-farm costs.‖7 º ―The problem with Monsanto is not just their corrosive lobbying practices, but the fact that the products they produce, genetically engineered foods and chemical weed killers, are in more than 70% of the processed foods that we eat and feed our families every day.‖8
  11. 11. Monsanto Monsanto: ―The same company … that told us that PCBs, Agent Orange, and DDT were safe.‖3
  12. 12. Today’s Grocery List Most Modified Foods º ―The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow).‖4 • These also often appear as minute ingredients in many other foods. º Consider that most non-organic infant formula is made from genetically-modified soy.3 Other Foods with Modified Ingredients º GMOs may also be found in common processed food ingredients including amino acids, vitamin C, citric acid, natural and artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, lactic acid, and molasses.4 º ―There are only nine genetically-modified food crops, but their derivatives are found in over 70% of the foods in the supermarket – particularly the processed foods.‖3 Labeling º ―The U.S. does not require labels on the view that genetically modified food is not materially different than non-modified food.‖9
  13. 13. Ill Effects Crops º There are two kinds of genetically-modified crops: ―The herbicide-tolerant crops – you can spray them with herbicide and not kill them – or the pesticide-producing crops that produce their own toxic insecticides that if a bug bites those plants, it breaks open the stomach and kills them.‖3 • The majority of the United States‘ GMO crops are engineered to withstand Monsanto‘s Roundup Weed Killer. º ―Every single cell within that plant is producing a toxic protein.‖3 º ―Bt is designed to break open the stomach of insects and kill them, so when the doctors hear about this, that Bt corn was introduced into our diet in the mid-90s, they say that this may explain the increase in gastrointestinal problems that they‘re seeing in their practice.‖3 • Meanwhile, it is still reported that the Bt toxin is harmful only to insects.3
  14. 14. Ill Effects ―Plants treated with [Monsanto‘s] Roundup have a reduction in available nutrients. They‘re weak and they‘re sick.‖3
  15. 15. Ill Effects Livestock º ―What do livestock in the United States eat? Roundup Ready crops: Roundup Ready soy, corn, cotton seed, canola meal, sugar beet pulp, and now alfalfa. The bulk of their diet is Roundup Ready crops, and those crops are nutrient-deficient and have high concentrations of Roundup.‖3 º ―Studies with pigs show the allergy response [to] the GMO food reproduce[s] all of the physiological changes we see in the intestine and inflammatory response [we see] in the stomach to those foreign proteins that we see with autistic children.‖3
  16. 16. Ill Effects ―The animals that eat the nutrient-deficient plants, they become nutrient-deficient and weak and sick.‖3
  17. 17. Ill Effects Us º ―Over the past twenty years there‘s been an almost logarithmic increase in a whole series of chronic illnesses.‖3 • Autism, birth defects, and even cancer are just a few examples on a growing list of complications. º ―Twenty-five to thirty, thirty-five years ago, no one was allergic to anything.‖3 º The effects of the Bt toxin may be causing intestinal permeability; this allows certain food particles to get into the bloodstream, and in an effort to eradicate them allergic reactions are created by the body.3 • Food allergies are becoming increasingly and dangerously common; that we could become allergic to everything meant to sustain us is starting to become a possibility.
  18. 18. Ill Effects ―Then we eat the animals and the plants that are nutrient deficient, and we may become weak and sick.‖3
  19. 19. Our Choice ―We have to somehow educate the public so that they understand that they have a choice: They don‘t have to eat genetically-engineered foods.‖3 The simplest way to reverse and avoid complications caused by GMO foods is simply to exclude them from your diet. Look for foods labeled as organic or non-GMO, or simply avoid questionable ingredients altogether. The issues concerning labeling and the FDA may linger for quite some time. But, by starting small and making changes in your own diet, you can help the effort being put forth to change the diet of the entire nation and to preserve the health of the world.
  20. 20. Make an Impact Treat your body well!
  21. 21. References 1. Antoniou, Michael, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan. GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops. London: Earth Open 7. Monsanto. Monsanto Company, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. <>. 2. "Genetically Engineered Food: An Overview." Food & Water Watch. Food & Water Watch, 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <>. 8. Murphy, Dave. "The March to Stop Monsanto: Taking Back Our Food, Our Farms, Our Democracy and Our Planet." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post., Inc., 28 May 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <>. Source, 2012. Print. 3. Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives. Dir. Jeffrey M. Smith. 2012. DVD. YouTube. 18 June 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. <>. 4. "GMOs and Your Family: Make Informed Choices About What Your Family Is Eating." Non-GMO Project. Non-GMO Project, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <>. 5. "How Are GMOs Made?" HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. <>. 6. Karimi, Shireen. "GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods." GMO Inside, 10 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. <>. 9. Olster, Marjorie. "GMO Foods: Key Points In The Genetically Modified Debate."Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post., Inc., 2 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <>. 10. Schmidt, Lisa. ―Chapter Ten: Cycles and Patterns in the Biosphere.‖ Victor Valley College, Victorville. 25 Nov. 2013. Lecture. 11. Shark Tale. Dir. Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron, and Rob Letterman. Perf. Will Smith, Jack Black, and Robert De Niro. DreamWorks Pictures, 2004. Film.