King’s College London United Kingdom
Title: Can we really trust genetically modified foods?
Alison Burton Shepherd is a queen’s nurse and tutor in nursing at Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery Kings College London. She has over 80 publications which have been peer reviewed. She is also a registered nutritionist and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Food and Nutritional Disorders (USA) and is a regular contributor to Network Health Dieticians. She still works in a clinical capacity as a nurse advisor for a private out of Hours Company where she works autonomously from home.
Biotechnology is providing us with a wide range of options for how we can use agricultural and commercial forestry lands. The cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops on millions of hectares of lands and their injection into our food chain is a huge global genetic experiment involving all living beings. The introduction of genetically modified (GM) products to the food market resulted in them becoming a controversial topic, with their proponents and contestants. GM foods are useful in controlling the occurrence of certain diseases and furthermore there is a growing body of research which has identified that GM food is reported to be high in nutrients and overall suggest that GM foods contain more minerals and vitamins than those found in traditionally grown foods. Moreover GM foods are known to taste better. Another reason for people opting for GM foods is that they have an increased shelf life and hence there is less fear of foods getting spoiled quickly, which is an important issue for those who are impoverished. However in contrast, it is believed that consumption of these genetically engineered foods can cause the development of diseases which are immune to antibiotics. More importantly, despite ever advancing technology in this field, as these foods are new inventions, not much is known about their long term effects on human beings. This presentation aims to review the potential benefits and risks resulting from the consumption of transgenic food in order to help health professionals and the public to decide if it is indeed safe to consume GM foods.
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