Is Genetically Modified Food (GMO) Really Good for Health?

As the technology and knowledge about genetics and microbiology have improved, there are thoughts about improving the quality of life, including eliminating or inserting certain genes to enhance the benefits of organism including plants, animals, etc. However, first of all, we should know what exactly is the genetically modified organism or food.

Genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically modified food is a kind of food which has foreign genes (from other organism: plants or animals) in its genetic codes. Genetically engineered food may make the food be more nutritious, tastier, decreased use of pesticides, etc. 1 However, the effect of modified plants or animals may be harmful because they has unexpected genetic changes. Moreover, they can also interbreed with natural organisms thus creating contamination which could lead to extinction. They can also cause toxicity or allergic reactions in many people because of the modifications. 2

 

 

References

  1. Wax E. Genetically engineered foods [Internet]. Bethesda: United States National Library of Medicine. 2014 [last updated May 3, 2016; cited date May 18, 2016]. Available from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002432.htm
  2. Genetic Science Learning Center. Genetically Modified Foods [Internet]. Salt Lake City: University of Utah. 2016 [cited date May 18, 2016]. Available from: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/science/gmfoods/
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How to Prevent Your Babies from Cronobacter sakazakii Infection

Introduction

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Cronobacter sp., which is formerly called as Enterobacter sakazakii is a gram – negative pathogens which can survive in extremely dry conditions. This bacteria can be obtained from food and environment. Even though cases regarding Cronobacter infections are rare, infection due to this bacteria is extremely dreadful especially for young infants which are susceptible for this bacteria in their early weeks of life as this bacteria can live in powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, starches, etc. 1

 

Discussion

Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria which survive in dry condition and can cause severe blood infections (sepsis), meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), etc. 1-2 As it can survive in dry condition, it can live in powdered infant formula as powdered milk is not sterile unlike the liquid milk. 1 Therefore, several steps to prevent Cronobacter spp. infection is needed to decrease the risk of infants getting this infection.

As is stated by Hunter et al. 2 , Cronobacter sakazakii is relatively resistant to osmotic, heat, and dry stresses. By other means, it can survive in quite an extreme condition and even regular routine sterilization methods cannot really eliminate it. Several ways of preventions should be conducted to cease this matter, such as: 1-2

  • Promoting breast feeding
  • Using gamma radiation to sterilize utensils
  • Using Cronobacter sakazakii – targeted bacteriophage therapy to reduce bacterial growth
  • Strict hand washing and contact isolation of both affected and susceptible infants
  • Avoid any possible contaminations for powdered infant formula.
  • Using hot water (above 70 degrees C) to make formula
  • Using formula within 2 hours of preparation

 

Conclusion

To sum up, special and additional care should be conducted to prevent the risk of infection for Cronobacter sakazii in infants. As Cronobacter sakazii lives in powdered infant milk, steps to prevent the colonization of this bacteria may start from the preparation of the milk itself, from the hygiene of the utensils, usage of the formula, until promoting breast feeding (avoid intake of formula milk) to reduce the risk of Cronobacter sakazii infection.

 

References

  1. Hunter CJ, Petrosyan M, Ford HR, Prasadarao NV. Enterobacter sakazakii: an emerging pathogen in infants and neonates. Surgical Infections (Larchmt). 2008 Oct; 9(5): 533 – 39.
  2. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Learn about Cronobacter Infection [Internet]. Atlanta: United States Department of Health and Human Services. 2016 [last updated April 13, 2016; cited date May 18, 2016]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/features/cronobacter/