Genetically Modified Food: The Hype Vs. Reality of GMOs

Introduction to GMOS

It is no secret that genetically modified organisms are a hot topic in the world of food production. However, many people who are not updated with GMO facts and myths might be confused about what GMOs are. In this article, we will discuss GMOs in-depth to make an educated decision on where you stand on the issue!

scientist injecting a tomato to turn it into gmos

What Are Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory setting. In other words, GMO foods have had specific genes from one organism transferred into another using modern gene-splicing techniques.

What are the Methods to create GMOs

Currently, there are two types of GMOs, first-generation and second-generation. First-generation GMOs are developed with the use of genetic engineering techniques. They are created by taking short, pre-existing sequences from other organisms and inserting them into a plant’s DNA using plant viruses or bacteria.

Second-generation GMOs are developed through the use of recombinant DNA techniques. The difference between the two is that first-generation GMOs have been created with the help of enzymes that cut and paste pieces together. In contrast, second-generation has been created by just cutting elements at specific locations in the genome.

The Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Food

Pros

  • It can provide more accurate results than conventional crops.
  • Crops are inexpensive.
  • Crops are easier to manage in terms of labor costs, by employing less labor for the upkeep.
  • Crops need less land to grow on.
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Cons

  • Crops may be harmful to humans, animals and the environment when ingested or spread near them because of the use of pesticides and herbicides in GMOS (genetically modified organisms).
  • Crops may be dependent on the use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • The effects of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on human health are still unknown, and therefore there is a risk in terms of trading off health for profit.
  • The costs of production depend largely on externalities that the companies producing GMO seeds do not take into account.
  • There is a possibility that GM crops can reduce biodiversity if these crops end up replacing conventional ones after continued use.
  • Conventional and organic crop may yield less than GMO crops in some cases depending on varying factors such as climate conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct studies to determine which farming method will produce more bountiful yields under certain conditions before making any conclusions.
  • There is a risk of corporate monopoly in the farming sector if GMOs are adopted by a majority of farmers, because only corporations will have access to GMO seeds and no one else will be able to produce crops for themselves or sell their own crops at market.
  • The possible effects of GMOs on human health are not yet well-known so it is not clear whether they can harm people who eat them or workers who handle them.

What Foods are Gentically Modified

The following foods are genetically modified:

-Soybeans, corn

-Papaya

-Squash

-Zucchini

-Sweet Potatoes

-Canola Oil (rapeseed oil)

-Rice

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-Tomatoes

-Salmon

-Pineapple

-Cottonseed Oil (used in cotton products like paper, cardboard, toilet paper, and so on, unless otherwise specified)

-Sugar beets (used for sugar production – including organic!)

biotechnology concept with icon set template banner with modern orange color style and circle shape vector illustration

What Experts say about Bioengineered Food

If you’re not sure, bioengineered food is food that has been modified using recombinant DNA technology. The experts say that it can be unsafe because it could go through many changes while being engineered, which could make it dangerous to consume.

The problem is that this process makes it easier to slip harmful chemicals into the food, which is why there are many people against it. And if you’re not familiar with weed killers, they can be very dangerous since they tend to leave chemicals on the crops that would contaminate the food we eat.

After this, the FDA – US Food and Drug Administration – started to scrutinize all of these genetically engineered foods more than ever before and found them unsafe for consumption. It also announced that even though plants don’t have allergens, they can “contain new allergens” as a result of genetic engineering; those pesky scientists! And what’s an allergen, you ask?

Well, some people are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts which makes it very dangerous if those were bioengineered as well because then it would mean that some people might die if they were unaware of their impact on people with allergies.

Conclusion

GMOs are a modern phenomenon that is the result of scientific advancement and ingenuity. While some people may not be comfortable with GMO foods, no studies have shown adverse health effects from eating GMO food products.

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