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The Future of GMO

The Future of GMO

Fishing for Better Genetics

It has been some time since genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) became commercialized around the world. Amongst the most common changes that the world has seen up to now was herbicide and insect resistance of plants. For example, Canadian consumers will soon get access to a genetically modified salmon that can grow to market size in half the time as regular salmon. It also requires less feed.

As one can see from this and the approval thereof by regulatory authorities, genetically modified crops and other GMO food can potentially reduce the input costs of the food industry significantly.

The Future of GMO Food

There are many developments in the area of genetically modified food that the world can expect to be realized in the future. This includes things such as pigs that are resistant to disease, dairy cows without horns, and chickens that are resistant to bird flu. Sheep are also expected to become more productive in terms of wool and mutton production.

All of this sounds interesting, but food producers should not hold their breath as these developments may take years to become a reality – if they ever do. The developments that already saw the light of day, however, are playing an integral part in the production of biotech crops.

Resistance of Pests

Resistance to herbicides and insects is a past development that will continue to be improved and expanded, especially since some organisms of weed are becoming resistant to non-selective systemic herbicides like glyphosate.

The prioritization will, in future, also start to shift from new technologies to improved management practices. This is because, as more insect-resistant crops are being planted, insects themselves are becoming more resistant to developments in technology. Since this battle between pests and technology can’t continue forever, crop management will start to see its own improvements and developments, like planting crops that are not genetically modified next to GM crops.

The Future of GMO

Obstacles for GMO’s

In the future, the GMO food industry may be facing much more challenges than resistant insects and weeds. Regulatory authorities don’t take these practices lightly and getting them approved can be a headache to role players in the GMO industry.

The introduction of new genes into animals is also an issue that requires consumer acceptance. This means that certain developments in the future of GMO food will not only be limited by technological limitations, but also by social ones.

Changes in Technology

Technologies like genome-editing tools are constantly being improved and it allows for the introduction of new genes into organisms. Not only do these developments allow for more affordable and quicker genetic modification, but it also makes it possible for more and smaller role players to take part in genome editing and genetic modification of organisms.

Conclusion

Predicting GMO’s of the future is not that easy. There are many different factors at play which include the management of risks and the approval of the international community. Government regulations are also a barrier that can inhibit GMO developments. In the long-haul, chances are that GMO foods will bring about significant changes in food production.

 

 

 

Food Safety

How Safe is the Food You Consume?

Food safety is something that we do not pay quite as much attention to as we should. After all, when time is short, as consumers, we are bound to let things slide. Maybe we leave the chicken out of the refrigerator for a little too long.

Maybe we don’t take the time to check a business’s   food safety certificate or quality assurance certification. Is it really such a big deal? After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You feel sick for a day or two, right?

Why Should I Be Concerned About Food Safety?

Wrong. Sure, in some cases you do pick up a bug that leaves you feeling sick for a day or two. Around 17% of the American population annually gets sick due to foodborne illnesses. Unfortunately, a case of gastro is the best outcome you can hope for.

Of the 48 million people who contract a foodborne disease in the States in a year, around 128 000 will need to be hospitalized. Around 3 000 will die. It is a sobering thought, isn’t it? It is enough to make you reconsider your whole outlook on food safety standards and quality assurance testing, isn’t it?

How is Food Safety Controlled?

Food safety is controlled through rigorous testing processes that span from the time the food is processed through to the time it lands up on the shelves. That means that many tests for contamination need to be undertaken when the food is being processed, packed, distributed and stored.

This entails:

  • Having separate manufacturing and packing facilities for foods that might cross-contaminate each other
  • High cleanliness standards to retard the growth of bacteria on equipment
  • Keeping the food at the ideal temperature to retard bacterial growth and prevent it spoiling
  • Storing the food in the ideal conditions to prevent cross contamination and to keep it from spoiling.

Once the food leaves the store, you have to ensure that you exercise good food hygiene and habits to prevent it becoming contaminated. This means:

  • Maintaining the ideal temperature when storing food.
  • Not mixing cooked and raw food, or allowing them to come into close proximity during storage.
  • Ensuring that defrosted food is not refrozen and that food that will be frozen has cooled sufficiently before-hand.
  • Making sure that left-overs are stored correctly and disposed of if they are no longer safe to eat.

 Are All Standards the Same?

As much as we like to think so, not necessarily. While health and safety officials do make attempts to police food safety, there is only so far that they can get. That is why it is up to the individual to take steps to protect themselves.

If you are considering dealing with a new business, check that they have the correct certification. If need be, ask them where you can see their food safety certificate.

You would be amazed, and horrified, if you saw what went on in some restaurant kitchens so do not skip this step.

At the end of the day, the safety of yourself and your family should be your greatest concern. Deal with reputable companies that demonstrate that they take food safety seriously.