Food Modification - Friend or Foe?

Technological advances provide the food and beverage industry with more ways to modify food than ever before. Hormones are used to control growth, disease, and production. Radiation is employed to rid produce of pests and microorganisms; and genetic engineering/alteration to produce larger yields/crops and more with favorable characteristics for cultivation.

While food researchers and scientists continue to improve production and functionality - it is consumers' perceptions that truly matter most – so what’s your opinion?

Radiation: Another food modification/preservation method is irradiation - which preserves foods by subjecting it to radiation so as to kill all the micro-organisms and other harmful pathogens. Furthermore - radiation at lower doses, can also delay the ripening of fruits and/or vegetables. Irradiation is used in high, medium or low dosages, depending on the intended purpose or food product.

As with most food modification techniques, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates irradiation and actually delegates it for specific foods types, even though critics say this might simply be a way of hiding poor quality in certain fresh foods. The most prevalent application for irradiation are fruit, vegetables, grains and meats like lamb, pork and beef.

Food Modification

Hormones: For decades now, farmers/food producers have primarily used substances such as bovine growth hormone and bovine somatropin to increase milk yield, deliver leaner meats, avert animal disease, and thereby - increase supplies and overall profits. From a medical viewpoint, food producers can achieve lower fat content in there meats, which can in turn reduce consumers' heart disease risks.

Then again, there is worry that residual trace amounts of hormone content can be found in in meats, milks and cheeses, and some studies indicate that these hormones might lead to increased risk of ovarian, breast, testicular and prostate cancers. Armed with this knowledge, consumers are starting to realize that that the risk of extra hormones is not worth its benefits.

Genetic Modification: At present - about 65 % of the food sold in the USA contains genetically modified ingredients. Modern genetic scientists are developing increasingly sophisticated technologies to alter animal and plant genetics so as to enhance these product’s desirable traits, like taste, texture, and nutritional value. Changing an organism's genetic information can also lead to reduced production costs, bigger crop yields, less need for insecticides/herbicides - with little or no crop damage.

In spite of this, critics complain that genetically modified foods are hazardous to other organisms and humans. Additionally - genetic modifications don’t eliminate the allergens, toxins, or other harmful compounds that their natural counterparts carry. In actual fact, there is some evidence which suggests that some genetically modified foods might actually increase allergic reactions.

Remember, you are what you eat. If you don’t to want to be a hormone drunk, radiated, genetically modified being – beware of what food you buy and consume.

License: Creative Commons image source
About the Author:

The following article was provided by ScribeZA for a top Food Manufacturing company, based in South Africa – who also sells great wholesale foods.

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