FAQs: GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
Q: What is genetically modified food?
A: GM means scientists have changed the genetic structure of food in order to make it look nice, to help it fight disease and to give it a longer life.
Q: How is GM food made?
A: GM food is made by taking genes (DNA) from one organism and putting it into another. For example, natural potatoes are mixed with chicken genes or tomatoes are mixed with fish genes.
Q: So what’s the problem with GM?
A: Many people feel we have not done enough research into GM; they say we need to know more because the food chain could be in danger. If we make a mistake, it could be bad for future generations.
Q: What can we as consumers do about GM?
A: If you grow your own food in your own garden, you are very lucky. But if, like most people, you buy your food in a supermarket, you should check the label. About 50% of the food we buy has soya in it. A lot of the soya in food is genetically modified. The problem is that the label does not always tell you exactly what the food contains.
Q: Do people want GM food?
A: 70% of people, when asked, usually say they do not want GM food. Why? Because they say no-one knows what the long-term effects of GM will be. We are creating a Frankenstein that we will not be able to control.
Read the text again and choose the best answer (A, B, or C) for items 1-3.
1.Why do scientists change the genetic structure of food?
A. To make it taste more natural.
B. To make it taste nice.
C. To make it last longer.
2. GM food is made by
A. mixing different vegetables.
B. mixing genes and natural products.
C. mixing fish and tomatoes.
3. What is one disadvantage of GM products?
A. They have damaged the food chain.
B. They can cause disease.
C. We don’t know enough about them.
Read the text again and decide if the following statements are True (A) False (B) or Not Stated (C).
4. Diseases do not affect GM food.
5. We need to do more research into GM food.
6. We do not yet know all the dangers of GM food.
7. The label on supermarket products is not easy to read.
8. Soya is often genetically modified.
It is hard to be a farmer. Cold weather can kill your crops. Bugs can eat your crops. Weeds can hurt your crops. Your crops may need more rain than they get. Fruits and Vegetables can go bad before they are sold. Some people say farmers can fix all og this with GM food.What is GM food? All living things have DNA. DNA tells living things how to grow. These days, people can change the DNA that tells food how to grow. When people change the DNA of food, it is called GM food.Some GM food can grow in cold weather. GM food can stop bugs from eating it. GM fruits and vegetables can stay good longer. One day, GM food may be able to grow in dry land in Africa. It will feed people who do not have much food.But there is a lot we do not know about GM food. Will GM companies help poor people grow food? Or do GM companies just want to get rich? Does GM food kill bugs we need, like butterflies? Does GM food make birds sick? Does GM food make people sick? We do not know. There have not been many tests on GM food.Do you think farmers should grow GM food?
What can bugs do that make it hard to be a farmer?
They make your crops too dry.
They make your food go bad.
They can eat your crops.
They can make your food GM.
What is DNA?
It is something everyone needs to change.
Something about life that cannot be changed.
Something that is only in GM foods.
DNA is the part of every living thing that tells it how to grow.
According to the reading, what is something that GM food can NOT do?
It can make food grow in cold weather.
It can make food grow faster.
It might help grow food in dry parts of Africa.
GM food will help foods stay good longer.
What is the main reason we do not know enough about GM foods?
Famers don't like GM foods.
Scientists need to do more testing to understand GM foods.
Insecticides proves that GM foods will survive bug infestations.
Companies just want to get rich.
What is the writer's main purpose for writing about GM foods?
To convince the reader that GM food is good.
To educate the reader about GM food and help the reader make an opinion about whether it is good or bad.
To convince the reader that GM food is bad.
To convince the reader that farmers need to work harder so we don't use GM food.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?
YES if the statement agrees with the writer's views or claims
NO if the statement contradicts the writer's views or claims
NOT GIVEN if there is no information to say what the writer thinks about it.GM FOODS
1. People are normally afraid of change.
2. Groups opposing genetically modified foods were not being rational.
3. The practice of genetic modification does not indicate any scientific progress.
4. If we do not use genetically modified foods, we will face the problem of famine.
5. Genetic modification of foods will help to bring down the prices of pesticides.
6. Genetically modified plants should be able to grow in any environment.
7. Results of the research into the effects of GM foods are not reliable.
8. Changing the genes of plants could affect human beings’ natural resistance to diseases.
Genetically Modified Foods
The furore over genetically modified food is Just the latest in a long line of people reacting because they are frightened of change. Despite the strangely emotional lobby against GM food, the movement does raise some salient points.
The genetic modification of food is an important step on the ladder of scientific development, and can lead to plants becoming resistant to disease, yielding higher quality and quantity of fruits and even growing more quickly. These practices will enable the amount of food grown to be increased massively, which could potentially, if not solve, go a long way to alleviate the problem of famine or world hunger. It could lead to a fall in the use of pesticides, as they would not be needed for use on plants with natural genetic resistance to insects. GM crops will be able to grow in climates that would be totally inhospitable to unmodified plants, allowing new sources of food to be grown in countries without the .environmental strain of flying in the foodstuffs from all over the world . The credibility of all research done regarding the ill effects of GM food is in doubt, and thus all evidence found here should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
There are several pieces of evidence that genetically modified food may be bad for people, and even if these results are not steeped in scientific credibility the findings should be researched, analyzed and developed to ensure the product is safe before they gain universal release. Farms specifically devoted to GM food, like most other dedicated agricultural establishments, will lead to a unilateral habitat being established that could not support other forms of life; due to a change of environment and other factors such as pesticides. These areas of cropland would destroy the places where countless insects and other small animals live, hunt and breed. By altering the genomes of these plants, this could easily give rise to new diseases in the future that human beings would have no genetic resistance to. This problem must be avoided at all costs. Similarly, like all branches of big business, genetically modified farming would lead to the people involved being solely focused on profit-making rather than ethical practices. This would lead to the soul of rural areas being ripped out, and many communities being destroyed.
In conclusion, it is integral that the process of created genetically modified foodstuffs must be closely monitored by independent, disinterested watchdog-style organizations. With these ombudsmen in place, the genetic modification of food can lead to massive developments in how we feed people and in the quality of foods.
*Genetically Modified Foods*
(A) Foods on sale in Australia that use genetically modified (gm) ingredients (mainly- imported) are from the six gm crops listed below. With the exception of cotton oil, none of these crops approved for food use are grown commercially in Australia.
Cotton oil- is produced from a gm crop grown in Australia, called Bt Cotton, and can be used in edible oils and margarines. Approved genetically modified crops that can be imported for use in
processed foods are:
Soybeans— these can be used in soy-based products and ingredients in processed foods such as bread, pastries, snack foods, and edible oil products.
Canola oil (rape seed oil)—can be used in edible oils, fried foods and snack foods.
Corn- can be in the form of corn oil, flour, and sugar and used in snack foods, fried foods and confectionery.
Potatoes- can be used in processed products such as snack foods (this does not include fresh potatoes).
Sugar beet- can be used as sugar in some processed foods.
Not all imported food and food ingredients, as listed above, are derived from genetically modified crops.
(B) Genetic modification involves taking genes from the cells of a plant, animal or microbe and inserting them into another cell to give a desired characteristic.
When food products are derived by this process they are known as genetically modified or gm foods. As every form of life has genes, almost everything we eat has genes in it.
Plant and animal breeders have sought to modify or improve quality, yield and taste characteristics for hundreds of years through cross breeding techniques. Genetic modification is a new method of identifying and transferring particular characteristics.
Genetic modification is part of the science of biotechnology, which has rapidly advanced this century. This has resulted in improvements in traditional ways of making common products such as bread, cheese, beer and vitamins.
While the use of genetic modification in commercial food crops is new in
Australia, it has been used widely in the USA for several years.
(C) The Federal and State Governments are together considering how to best meet consumers' information needs on genetically modified foods, including labelling, to enable consumers to make an informed choice.
The Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFSC) have made a commitment to the labelling of genetically modified foods. Further specific information regarding labelling of genetically modified foods or ingredients will be made available through the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and Biotechnology Australia.
(D) There is a wide range of opinions in the community about genetically modified foods, with arguments for and against on issues such as their nutritional value, the beneficiaries-consumers, producers or multinationals-and the environmental effects of genetically modified crops. Other issues include the ability to feed the world's poor and consumer acceptance versus ethical concerns about transferring genes across species.
(E) Genetic modification has the potential to provide foods that are healthier, safer, cheaper, better for the environment and more efficient to grow. The Federal Government seeks a can-do country where Australian jobs can be kept at home. By embracing innovation and new technology, Australia stands to benefit economically and remain internationally competitive in the food it produces. While there is a window of great opportunity for Australia based on research in gene technology; it is necessary to carefully assess the possible risks as well as the benefits available from gene technology.
Some crops have been modified to be pest resistant. For example, a cotton crop has been developed with built-in protection against insects and, as a result, farmers have reduced their pesticide spraying. Results such as this could lessen the use of chemicals in agriculture and lead to a cleaner environment. Using gene technology researchers are planning to develop foods that benefit consumers by having higher vitamin and protein content as well as having their allergy-causing properties removed while including properties to help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
(F) It is the role of the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) to ensure that all food, including genetically modified food, is safe and ANZFA's safety guidelines are based on world best-practice standards.
All companies, both from Australia and overseas, must, by law, comply with Australian regulations before they can sell genetically modified products in Australia. Using ANZFA guidelines, information supplied by companies, and world scientific literature, ANZFA's experts assess the characteristics of genetically modified foods to determine if they have been changed in any way which might make them unsafe. Steps in the approval process are:
• An initial safety assessment is made by ANZFA experts, with public comment invited.
• A review of all the findings is undertaken.
• A full safety assessment is conducted by ANZFA experts.
• Final public comment on the proposed genetically modified food is invited.
• A recommendation for approval or rejection is made to the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Council (consisting of the Health Ministers of Australia and New Zealand).
The full process can take up to 12 months. Each State and Territory Government is responsible for administering the enforcement of the food standards.
*The passage has 6 sections A-F. Choose the most suitable heading for each section from the list of headings below.*NB: There are more headings than sections so you will not use all of them. You may use any of the headings more than once.
*1.* Who regulates gene technology and its safety?
*2.* Information and answers to your questions
*3.* How is genetic modification done?
*4.* What crops are genetically modified?
*5.* How are genetically modified foods used?
*6.* Attitudes to genetically modified foods
*7.* How do consumers identify genetically modified foods?
*8.* What is genetic modification?
*9.* Why have genetic modification?
Do the following statements reflect the information in the passage?
*Yes*- if the statement reflects the information in the passage
*No*- if the statement contradicts the information in the passage
*Not given* - if there is no information about this in the passage
1. Only genetically modified cotton oil is approved for use in Australia.
2. A considerable number of genetically modified foods have already been rejected by ANZFA.
3. Labelling is one method that consumers will be able to use to identify whether a food has been genetically modified or not.
4. Many consumers are deeply concerned about genetic modification and have protested strongly to the government.A.Not given
5. The growing of genetically modified crops can help farmers reduce the use of harmful chemicals.
6. ANZFA experts may suggest that some genetically modified foods should be rejected for use in Australia and New Zealand.
Choose the appropriate answer for each question.
1. Which of the following improvements is NOT mentioned as being one of the characteristics to be obtained through cross breeding?
2. According to the passage, which of the following comes in three forms?
3. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a community concern about genetically modified foods?