Biotechnology: How Science Impacts Our Diet
Biotechnology: How Science Impacts Our Diet
Biotechnology is the science that allows the food industry to modify the DNA of crops and animals. Biotechnology also is known as genetic engineering.
The following are some examples of how biotechnology impacts or could impact the foods we eat:
- The Bt gene, taken from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis , is applied to crops to resist insect infestation. Bt presents no risk to human health and does not harm beneficial insects.
- Half of the cheese made in America is created using chymosin, an enzyme that is created through biotechnology. The alternative to chymosin is rennin (from stomach of a calf).
- Today tomatoes are created to have a much greater shelf life. The Flavr Savr(tm) tomato was the first genetically engineered plant, approved by the FDA in 1994.
- Many crops, including potatoes and corn, are protected against insect infestation by biotechnological methods.
- Broccoli was created by crossbreeding cauliflower and peas.
- Nectarines were created by crossbreeding peaches and apples.
- Rice is engineered to have a higher protein content and/or a higher level of beta-carotene (known as 'golden rice').
- Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) is used in dairy cows to increase milk production.
- Porcine somatotropin (pST) is used to encourage lean muscle tissue production in pigs.
- Alpha-amylase is used in the production of high-fructose corn syrup and dry beer.
- Plant cells grown in fermenters are used to produce flavors, such as vanilla.
- Microbes can produce amino acids for the synthesis of aspartame.
- The lactase enzyme is added to milk to make it more tolerable for lactose-intolerant people.
Benefits of biotechnology
The following are benefits of biotechnology:
- Decreased spoilage and increased shelf life; improved ripening
- Resistance to herbicides and insect infestations (leading to less use of pesticides)
- Viral resistance of plants and animals
- Enhanced nutrient content
- Enhanced flavor profiles
- Resistance to adverse environmental conditions, such as freezing, heat, and drought
Regulation of biotechnology
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all regulate bioengineering.
Foods derived from biotechnology are not labeled as such unless they are significantly different from their conventional alternatives. However, the food label must list the presence of any allergens or any differences in nutritional quality from the conventional alternative. Any food labeled 'organic' cannot contain any genetically modified organisms.
Concerns about the use of biotechnology
Some people are worried about the possible inclusion of allergenic foods into foods that generally do not contain them. For instance, if a peanut DNA were added to a form of produce, a person who was allergic to peanuts could become ill from eating the produce.? However, the FDA regularly tests foods to prevent this from occurring, and any food that contains a common allergen must include this information on its food label.
The introduction of unnatural hormones to our food supply has many people concerned. Other individuals are concerned about possible resistance to antibiotics, although no evidence exists to show that this has occurred.
References and recommended readings
Bruhn C, Earl R; American Dietetic Association. Position of
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My office offers individualized care for my patients. I am devoted to providing each patient with excellent chiropractic care with a personal touch. I specialize in making HOUSE CALLS. I make HOUSE CALLS in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Passaic, Essex, Bergen, Hudson and Union and Counties at present. I am licensed in the State of New Jersey and the State of Florida. Since 1969 I have been involved in managing my practice and also managing the practices of friends of mine in the States of Florida and New Jersey. I have experience in managing an office that is a straight chiropractic office seeing up to 300 patients per day to managing an office that performs numerous therapies to managing an office that had 3 medical doctors with a staff of 10 people working for me. Through my experience I know I can pick the proper therapy that I believe a patient may need rather than using the same treatment on everyone. I was fortunite to be able to attend the First Independent Presidents Chiropractic Congress in Washington, D.C.. I am Past Secretary, President and Executive Director of Beta Omega Chi Chiropractic Fraternity; Past Secretary of the Alumni Association of New York Chiropractic College and member of the Board Of Directors; Past Coordinator of Student Activities of New York Chiropractic College; Past Treasurer, Secretary ,Vice President and President of the Northern Counties Chiropractic Society; Past Coordinator for Council on Scoliosis Screening for Morris, Sussex, Warren & Hunterdon Counties; Past member of the Public Relations Team of the New Jersey Chiropractic Society and was on the Legislative Team of the New Jersey Chiropractic Society which made it possible for Chiropractors to be included in Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Jersey. Since I graduated from Columbia Institute of Chiropractic I have taken,yearly, post graduated courses from New York Chiropractic College, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, Parker Chiropractic College, Life Chiropractic College, New Jersey Chiropractic Society and the Florida Chiropractic Association. Shortly I will also be associated with a practice in Florida and in Bergen County, New Jersey.