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THE PHARMA REVIEW (MAY - JUNE 2011)

GM Foods: Present and Future

1Raj Kumar, 1Darpan Kaushik, 1N. Mahadevan, 2S.K.Singh and 2D.N.Mishra

Abstract: Genetically modified (or GM) plants have attracted a large amount of media attention throughout the world in recent years and continue to do so. GM foods are the product of one of the most progressive fields of science-biotechnology. The recent advances in biotechnology has enormously changes the scenario of the plant industry in term of increasing crop production and yield that in turn has increased the usage of GM food in the human food chain. The usage of GM foods for human consumption has raised a number of fundamental questions including the ability of GM foods to elicit potentially harmful immunological responses, including allergic hypersensitivity which until now was not confirmed or denied. For this reason the assessment of their safety profile using a scientific sound approach seems essential to protect the environment, as well as the health of humans and livestock.
Introduction
Technologies for genetically modifying foods offer dramatic promise for meeting some of the 21st Century’s greatest challenges. Like all new technologies, they also pose some risks, both known and unknown. Controversies surrounding GM foods and crops commonly focus on human and environmental safety, labelling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty reduction, environmental conservation and potential disruption or even possible destruction of the food chain. Successful commercialisation of GM food products can has the potential to contribute to industry long-term profitability and growth as it can increase supply capacity and consistency of characteristics such as taste. However, the commercial success of such products is reliant on public acceptance. The challenge in developing such products lies in bridging the gap between technological changes and consumers concerns. Worldwide consumer response toward food products made from GM ingredients has been largely negative. It is a strong belief that the public turning against science and against GM food has been encouraged by the negative activities of NGO groups. Consumer acceptance of genetically modified foods varies amongst countries, Europeans generally show low levels of acceptance and US consumers are seen as divided in attitudes.
GM Food
GM foods are food products whose genetic content has been changed by use of recombinant DNA technology. This genetic change is made so as to give the food crop or food product certain defined, definite characteristics such as increased yield, pest resistance, attractive colour, enhanced taste, increased shelf life, increased nutritional content, etc., as claimed by the company that has obtained the patent for it.

 

 

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