Genetically modified Organism (GMO) foods have become rampant in our society today due to the vast growing of the population. Countries like Canada, U.S.A and the European Union through modern biotechnology have develop new plant varieties to feed their population. Genetic modification of food is changing the genes of a living thing to alter its characteristics. There have been many debates about the safeness of GMO foods for human consumption. These have called for the formation of legislation worldwide to control and regulate amount of GMO in food which some scientific agencies believe poses as a danger to human health and others do not. Laws opposing to it differ from countries. Specific labelling requirement have been initiated by most countries whiles U.S.A require producers of GMO foods to report to the food and drug authorities prior to the sale of the product. Several testing indicators have been set up to regulate the quantitative of GMO’s in crops to guarantee fulfilment with threshold levels of genetically modified (GM) foods.
Testing GMO foods helps to unveil the quality of traits that have been embedded into the production. Detection of genetic modified can be done through quantitative means by measuring the amount of a certain GMO available or qualitative by displaying which genetically model is present. Several assays have been developed to help in the testing for the presence of GM in food which includes protein-based testing methods using the western blot, ELISA strip and the DNA – based method which also involves the use of southern blot, qualitative PCR and quantitative end point PCR. The reference material used should imitate the genuine life test material.
Protein based method is the used of immobilized GMO protein – specific antibodies in a multi – well solid plate format. The protein based is very fast and easy to use but it relies on the expression of level of targeted proteins, which is important according to plant tissues and growth. The Western blot and ELISA strip have been used in the detection of whether the amount of protein present in the food is below or above a predetermined threshold level. The western blot which has been classified as more acceptable for research use and it is used in determining target proteins through specific antibodies by using gel electrophoresis. ELISA technique also uses antibodies that react with specific proteins produced by GMO.
The DNA detection methods of GM food finds the part of the foreign DNA that has been altered in the GMO plant. Two commonly used techniques are the southern blot and the PCR analysis. Southern blot is used by separating DNA fragments using the size through electrophesis and transferring them to a membrane, hybridizing, washing and detecting of labelled DNA band. The effect of using DNA based detection is that not all food derived from GM foods contain enough DNA and consistent heating of the food whiles processing may lead to loss of DNA. Qualitative PCR uses the DNA polymerase to allow specific DNA selection that is occurring at low frequency. The Quantitative PCR helps in approximating the quality of initial material in a sample. It has a wider dimension range.
There should be a regulation by the EU and all government as GMO foods spike controversies in this era. Many believed genetic modified foods has poses threat to human health when consumed. GMO foods should therefore be screened well to pass all necessary test before introducing them to the market.