The Dangers of Genetic Engineering in Food Products Essay

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The Dangers of Genetic Engineering in Food Products

A whooping 60% of what's on our supermarket shelves may contain genetically engineered soya. Some 3000 genetically engineered foods are lined up for approval. How should genetically engineered (GE) foods be regulated? Foremost, we must clarify what genetic engineering is-- laboratory technique used by scientists to change the DNA of living organisms. DNA is the blueprint for the individuality of an organism. The organism relies upon the information stored in its DNA for the management of every biochemical process. The life, growth and unique features of the organism depend on its DNA. Genes are the segments of DNA, which have been associated with certain functions of an organism.
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The argument is not whether or not it should be allowed but how it should be regulated.
Supporters of this technology want to ensure that people know “what is real versus what isn’t” and so they want to enforce regulating labeling their products. Congress has provided the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a limited basis on which to require labeling. Generally, for FDA to require labeling there must be something different about the food. In general, this means most genetically engineered foods will not need special labeling because they will be similar to the real thing, but there are exceptions, such as when a gene from a food that could cause an allergic reaction--peanuts, for example--is transferred into another food. In that case, FDA policy places the burden on the developer. "The food will have to be labeled so everyone will know it contains an allergen, unless the developer can show scientifically that the allergenicity has not been transferred," says Laura Tarantino, Ph.D., deputy director of FDA's Office of Pre-market Approval. Fortunately, the products in front of us right now don't raise those issues." FDA also will require labeling if a company uses genetic engineering techniques to change a food's composition significantly. For example, when one manufacturer modified canola to produce increased levels of lauric and myristic acids in
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