The concerns were that this new technology posed a risk to the environment and to the health of the people (Bedford, 2003: 89). The conference recommended that the technology be controlled by the government until it was refined and became safe. The first firm to make use of this technology was established shortly after this discovery. It was called Genentech and was owned by a person by the name of Herbert Boyer (Russell, 2004: 45). In 1978, the firm came up with another groundbreaking discovery. It created another strain of Escherichia coli. This one was capable of producing insulin, identical to that produced by the human being (Linda, 2005: 234). In the year 1980, one of the first patents for this technology was applied for. It was the first patent issued for a biological life, or creation as people liked to call it. It was a patent for a bacterium that could break down oil by eating it (Graham, 2009: 456). In 1985, the patent was made applicable to all plants that were biologically engineered.
The first large scale harvesting of these plants was in the mid 1990's. The last years of the 1990 decade saw the appearance of genetically modified foods in the shops. They were ingredients of almost two thirds of the total of American food that was processed. This technology has been opposed by many on the grounds that it is not safe to man and his environment. Field tests for genetically modified organisms have been delayed or blocked by activists and lobbyists who are opposed to the technology. Some countries in Africa declined food aid from America on the suspicion that it was genetically modified. This was in the year 2002.
Genetic Modification consists of the alteration of the organism's genetic composition. It introduces or removes genetic material from an organism's genome (Kendall, 2002: 456). Genes can be inserted which are gotten from an organism of a different species. This is called horizontal transfer. This transfer of genes from one organism to another does occur naturally in nature (Jockely, 2007: 34). But it can also be carried out artificially by man in the laboratory. It involves different techniques like physical insertion or attaching the gene to a virus.
The production and use of genetically produced food has been a controversial topic for a long time. Some critics view the technology as an interference with the nature (Howard, 2000: 43). Others feel that this technology is risky since not everything about it is known by man. As a result, it can have some irreversible consequences that are unforeseeable. The genetically modified foo