|PROS and CONS of Transgenic Crops: Food Safety|
POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS in NUTRITIVE VALUE of PLANTS
For many years, researchers have been developing rice modified to contain increased levels of Vitamin A (so-called golden rice). The hope is that such rice could reduce blindness among children in developing countries. But researchers need to prove that the rice significantly increases the plant's vitamin production and also show that it is then absorbed by the body.
Several companies (Monsanto and DuPont) are working on producing healthier soybean oils - ones that contain more omega-3 fatty acids or do not require hydrogenation. And Dupont is working to produce better tasting soy.
POTENTIAL to REDUCE ALLERGENICITY of PLANT PRODUCTS
Some efforts have been made to produce soybeans and peanuts that are less likely to cause allergic reactions. However, a less allergenic soybean product developed in 2002 met with resistance from baby food companies that are avoiding biotech crops altogether because of a perception that they are unacceptable to consumers.
POTENTIAL RISK of INTRODUCING ALLERGENS INTO FOOD CROPS
Plant genetics researchers must take care not to introduce genes for proteins that tend to generate allergic reactions. But the risk of accidentally inserting allergenic products into transgenic plants is actually quite low, as the allergenicity of particular proteins is generally known.
POTENTIAL RISK of PHARMACEUTICAL CROPS RAISED in FOOD SPECIES
For a thorough discussion of risks of bio-pharming, visit this link.