Research Paper: Genetically Modified Crops Foods and Hormones in Meat Supply

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Genetically Modified Crops/Foods and Hormones in Meat Supply

Genetically modified crops or foods result from genetically modified organism. Genetically modified foods are of great importance despite the concerns raised because they will help in solving the food crisis. Use of genetically modified foods have its challenges and the most common one being the transfer of genes from the genetically modified crops to the weeds and other unwanted plants when they disperse their seeds and pollen. This might eventually bring about weeds that are resistant to herbicides. They can also leave their residues in the meat and this will bring about side effects when consumed (Lessick, Keithley, Swanson & Lemon, 2002). This paper will analyze the effect genetically modified crops/foods and hormones in meat supply. How this issue affects nursing will evaluated and the finally it impact on society be evaluated.

Genetically modified crops/foods and hormones in meat supply

Genetic engineering refers to changing the genetic structure of embryonic cells in an effort to give them desired traits and in the process eliminating the undesired traits. Genetically modified organisms have their genetic traits altered through Genetic engineering, by introducing a modified genes or genes from other organisms giving them the other organism's desirable traits. Genetically modified food, therefore, comes from organisms with specific desired traits, for instance, pest resistance or nutritional qualities which are achieved through introducing specific DNA segment into the organism's genetic code by gene splicing. Originally, genetic modification was achieved through breeding. This process, however, took too long before the desired result was achieved. The introduction of genetically modified foods and growth hormones in livestock rearing came about as a way of dealing with providing food for a rapidly growing population. The rate at which normal food growth and production takes place cannot keep up with the rate at which the world's population grows (genetically modified foods, 2002).

Growth hormones also act as supplements for hormones that the animal produces for its growth and development. These hormones include naturally occurring compounds in the animal's body or can mimic these compounds that occur naturally. Three naturally occurring hormones include testosterone, progesterone and estradiol while zeranol and trenbolone are synthetically manufactured. Hormones are used in the rearing of livestock to promote production levels (Kunkel & Luccia, 2003). These hormones help in nutrient absorption in the animal, thereby reducing the need to feed continuously in effort to achieve the desired weight. This means that the animal grows faster, becomes larger, but not extremely fat. The meat produced is of better quality, making it leaner and therefore desirable to its consumers. Growth hormones are introduced in cases whereby the animals cannot produce enough of the particular hormone needed for their growth. Hormones are introduced into the animal's system through implants with instructions on how they are to be used, for example, steers do not produce enough testosterone for their growth due to them being castrated and in this case require hormones to supplement the deficiency. The implants, which are placed in the back of the animal's ear, contain doses that are legally accepted of the particular hormone. The ear is disposed off after the animal gets slaughtered. The amount of hormone released into the animals' bloodstream in controlled doses is low and constant and disappears before the time for slaughtering the animals arrives (Sachchathep, & Balitzer, 2007, p.108).

These hormones raise concern as they leave residues in the meat which is later consumed and can result in various side effects. These side effects are blamed on either the hormone itself or its metabolites which are also feared to be responsible for serious changes in development, neurobiological functions and carcinogenic effects.

The most common issues arising from the consumption of genetically modified foods are concerns of genetically modified crops transferring their genes to weeds and other unwanted plants through dispersal of their seeds and pollen. This might eventually bring about weeds that are resistant to herbicides. Another common issue is the use of genetic marker genes. The genetic marker genes, which are introduced in the process of genetic modification, determine the successful embedding of the desired genes. The genes provide resistance to antibiotics, and although they scrambled before being used, they might still be contributing to resistance to antibiotics which is a problem. In the case of plants engineered to be resistance to a specific pest, the endotoxins intended to protect them from the particular pest may also be harmful to other organisms and insects which can be helpful to the plants. They may end up affecting more of the ecosystem because of the death of insects which might be food to other animals and therefore the effects are more widespread than intended.

How genetically modified crops affects nursing

Technology is connected to all aspects of the society and everyday life and the healthcare sector not any different for that matter. The presence of genetically modified food has brought about a change in the syllabus with which nursing students are taught. This is to enable them be able to give patients informed answers to whatever questions they may have with regards to genetically modified products. It is in this light, that nurses need to be educated and informed on the development and side effects that may arise from consumption of genetic modified foods. This will enable the nurses communicate benefits and risks that these products pose and in turn help them assist patients make informed decisions.

Being amongst the first people that patients consult for advice and information with matters relating to health and safety issues, nurses have an important role to play in the educating about the genetically modified foods. It is for this reason that it is important for nurses to know about the effect than the genetically modified foods have on the consumers' health and the safety of these products. Genetically modified foods raise concern for people who come from different ethnic/cultural and religious backgrounds. This is because, they may choose to want to avoid foods with genes or genetic products from certain animals due to their beliefs, and practices, for example Muslims are not allowed to eat pork and by products from pigs and may want to avoid genetically modified crops with genetic materials from pigs. This is where the nurses step in to discuss with the patients on avoidance strategies.

Other people believe that gene splicing and the transfer of genes from one organism to another organism from different species is unethical. People are also concerned with the allergic reactions that may arise from consuming some genetically modified products making it important for nurses to take careful history of actual and potential food allergies and discuss methods of avoiding strategies. They can also teach patients how to identify allergic reactions and provide emergency plans and medications to be taken in the case of accidental consumption of genetically modified product that one is allergic to.

Impact of genetically modified foods and hormone in meat supply on the society or community

The impacts of genetically modified foods are negative and positive. Genetic modification enhances crop yields due to reduction in losses incurred because of crops being attacked by diseases and pests. This is because through genetically modification, plants that are resistant to pests and diseases are developed. This in turn means that the land required for production is reduced and it does not reduce the crop yield. Genetic modification also minimizes intrusion into forest land and land set aside for animals in an attempt to increase the productivity of the land. It also increases efficiency in the growing of crops and reduces the need to clear more land for crop production (Halford & Shewry, 2000, p.7). The amount of chemicals used in the production of genetically modified crops is reduced meaning that there is less contamination of surface and ground water and the soil due to excessive use of chemicals. Pest resistant crops help reduces the amount of spraying required in fighting pests that attack plants.

Genetically modified foods are healthier as they contain lower levels of fat and artificial sugars and also more nutritious due to being high in fiber. The reduced use of pesticides and insecticides makes the food safer for consumption. Issues such as malnutrition are easier to tackle through introduction of genes that produce necessary minerals and vitamins into a population's staple food. This will help promote good health through protecting against diseases that arise from deficiencies particularly in the developing countries (Jefferson, 2006).

The production of edible vaccines in plants as they grow through genetic modification has facilitated the production of Norwalk virus, a hepatitis B vaccine, in genetically modified sweet potato. If the edible vaccines are produced, it will reduce shipping, storage and administration costs of vaccines to less developed nations and increase widespread inoculation. Genetic modification involves introduction of genes and results in proteins being introduced into completely unrelated species, for example animal genes being put into plant genes. As a result, concerns of allergic reactions come about due to fear of allergies… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Genetically Modified Crops Foods and Hormones in Meat Supply.  (2010, April 13).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genetically-modified-crops-foods-hormones/328

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"Genetically Modified Crops Foods and Hormones in Meat Supply."  Essaytown.com.  April 13, 2010.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genetically-modified-crops-foods-hormones/328.