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Kenya Bans GM foods
GM foods or genetically modified organisms (GMO) are usually referred to crop plants which are created for the consumption of both human and animal having their genetic materials altered to desired conditions not occurring normally. In their creation, individual genes are selected and transferred from a certain organism to another, but can also happen between species that are not related. These methods are done to make the GM plants later grow into GM crops.

Such foods are developed usually because they are less expensive, may last longer or endure certain environments, and may have better nutritional value. An example of a GM food trait is its ability to withstand insect infestation and viral infection.

For GM foods, a more rigorous evaluation is done utilizing risk assessment techniques. This is to determine the safety of the food.

According to WHO, the risk assessment technique involves the checking of:
a) direct health effects (toxicity);
b) tendencies to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity);
c) specific components thought to have nutritional or toxic properties;
d) the stability of the inserted gene;
e) nutritional effects associated with genetic modification; and
f) any unintended effects which could result from the gene insertion.

Among those being checked, there are three areas of concern for GM Foods. These are the allergenicity, gene transfer, and outcrossing.

The concerns about allergenicity involve having to carefully look out for genes of commonly allergenic foods and not having them transferred to GM foods. For the gene transfer, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WHO have discouraged the antibiotic resistance genes since these may cause adverse health reactions when absorbed by human cells. Outcrossing is the movement of certain GM plants genes into traditional crops or related species. This can also be the mixing of conventional crops with GM crops. If such is done, the rigorous evaluation may be skipped and health risks may arise.

I made a quick search about the common crops being considered as GM Foods. Here’s the Top 10 Genetically Modified Food Products from the Discovery Channel Website:
1. Sugar Beets
2. Potatoes
3. Corn
4. Tomatoes
5. Squash
6. Golden Rice
7. Soybean
8. Oils
9. Animal Feed
10. Salmon

The Kenyan government firmly stands on the following top 5 reasons why GMO is banned:
1. Patented Seed
2. Soil Infertility
3. Monocropping/Loss of Biodiversity
4. Terminator Seed Technology
5. Dependency on a Centralized Food System

Personally, it is an uncomfortable thought that GM Foods are banned in an area where drought, poverty, and hunger are larger concerns. I believe something greater than banning should be implemented to address such.
Lyka Candelario, RN
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Messages In This Thread
Kenya Bans GM foods - by Kiran S Manjady - 01-25-2013, 01:02 AM
RE: Kenya Bans GM foods - by lyka_candelario - 08-19-2013, 08:25 PM
RE: Kenya Bans GM foods - by RivkaCue - 11-03-2014, 01:04 PM

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