Farmers and stakeholders in the food industry have chosen crop genetic modification as one of the methods to improve yield and increase productivity.
Genetically modified foods, also known as GMOs have been widely accepted and criticised at the same time for the last two decades now.
There are selected growing methods and breeding through which these genetic modifications are done and while there are benefits derived from genetically modified crops, there are also health risks.
GM may reduce some food nutrients while improving others
One of the disadvantages of crop modification is that, when the genetic makeup of the plant is altered, there is much possibility of the food nutrients composition being changed.
This has been suggested to be responsible for the increase in allergic reaction experienced among children, which has increased by more than 50% now.
GMO crops may lead to antibiotic resistance
Different studies have pointed that of the the disadvantages of genetically modified food on human health which has to do with resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.
Antibiotics, bacteria or chemicals can be injected into crops to develop resistance against pests, germs and diseases.
This could make germs get used to the antibiotics in gmo foods and build immunity against it.
A resultant effect of this is that, drugs would be less effective and some diseases would be difficult to control.
Side effects of Genetic Modification on Environment
Growing gmo foods can also pose danger to the ecosystem.
Some insects responsible for pollination like butterfly and others may be negatively affected.
Also, resistance to pests and bacteria may depopulate some of the organism responsible for decomposition and other activities in the soil.
The residue of the substances used can remain in the soil for a long period of time. This will affect other crops which are non-gmo when they’re planted on the same field.
Research has pointed out that the strains from genetically modified crops can stay on the soil for up to five years.
Similar to this, there’s possibility of gene migration from GM crops to other plants on the field.
Oher plants like the weeds on the field can also receive the genes which were in a herbicide-resistant crop.
This may bring further negative effects on future crops on the field and it may happen that the disadvantages of genetically modified will outweigh the advantages.
Negative effect on the human body immune system
Plants such as Corn, cotton, millet, rice, banana and animals such as chicken and cow have had their genes are grossly modified.
For example, gmo insulin which is produced by bacteria (E. Coli) is given to to type 2 diabetes patient to control the blood sugar level.
However, research has shown that the animal insulin is cardiotoxic and carcinogenic and could increase the rate of major adverse cardiac events and cancer.
Another way genetically modified food can affect our body is that, the hormones which are injected in plants and animals will also find their way into the human system when consumed.
For example, when cow is genetically modified, the milk produced may contain hormones which may interfere with the human hormones.
This may disrupt the human hormone balance, puberty may be quicken in children.
The development of the tissue and organs of the body may be affected and reproductive system may be affected and new disease may spring up.
Even modified corn and soybeans that are used in feeding chicken may pass the hormones to their body.
From experimentation, most of those genetically modified chickens usually have short lifespan and develop heart attack, lung and bone problems.
Also, arsenic which has found its way into the chicken feed could get into the human system and increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
GMO and carcinogen risk
Some researchers on GMO foods carried out experiments on rats and discovered that food crops that are developed to tolerate pesticides can increase the risk of cancer in rats.
With this findings, there’s much possibility it could occur in humans too.
Although there’s need for further research on this where large number of subjects would be used for the experiment in other to have more reliable result.
While food genetic modification could help in reducing food insecurity the world is currently fighting, we should also understand that providing more food at the risk of health is not good.