When Would You Use Genetically Modified Foods?
As the world is rapidly changing and becoming more and more efficient, farmers needed to find ways to keep up crop supplies to support their high demands. How else would farmers gain larger and more prosperous crops without losing the quality of the food? Genetically modified foods is the answer. Genetically modified foods are used around the globe to produce better quality food at a higher efficiency rate. Now some may ask why would this even be necessary? There are multiple reasons as to why farmers may choose to genetically modify their crops. Some genetically modified crops can be resistant to any type of beetle or insect eating their crop which also allows them to not have to spray pesticides everywhere which is then ingested by the consumer. Another positive would be the ability to implant various vaccines into the plant themselves so that families who cannot afford to be vaccinated could in turn be “vaccinated” without even getting a shot. Another major plus from genetically modified foods would be the ability to genetically alter a plant to grow in various types of environments. If the crop is not able to thrive in that environment but there is no funding to move elsewhere, this type of genetic modification allows for the crop to grow prosperously without having to move locations. These reasons and many more would be why a farmer would choose to genetically modify their crops in the first place.
What Even Are Genetically Modified Foods?
Genetically modified foods are all around us: Sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, rice, fruit, etc. Not only are genetically modified foods extremely prevalent in today’s society, they are becoming more and more popular and necessary to keep up with the demand of food supply and quality. Genetically modified foods, or more commonly known as GM crops, are foods that have had technology to transfer genes from one organism to another. So to keep it simple, you take a trait from one thing and put it in another. Genetic transfer is simply a fancy way of copy and pasting the different traits that one would like their crop to h
ave to further enhance either their crop quality, quantity, or both.
What Are the Health Risks to Humans?
Is genetically modified corn going to kill you? No probably not. But their are some risks that consumers should be aware of before consuming GM foods. Modifying one segment of DNA does not have a single direct result; instead it can cause a spiraling effect of unintended consequences. It is hard to research for health risks of GM crops simply because the GM crop holders don’t want them to do research unless it is to promote the GM crops, simply to save their own butts incase a major health risk were to appear in research. An article published in Nature Biotechnology: “the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds is holding back independent research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops.” Although it is difficult to do research for these health risks. Some studies have been done and have come to some surprising and frightening conclusions. It has been found that there are risks with the ingestion of pesticides either directly or indirectly. GM food are engineered to resist herbicides that enable farmers to saturate them with weedkillers during their growth period, in an effort to control the (super)weeds growing in the same fields, or generate their own internal pesticides. These pesticides have been found to cause disruption in the digestion system. New studies are continuously disproving the GMO manufacturers in their biggest assurance to consumers stating “new genes introduced in GM food are harmless, since all genes are broken up and rendered inert during digestion.” Studies have found that the pesticides actually do not break down in the digestion system and not only survive but do indeed influence human cell function. These effects to cell function have been linked for the past ten years to human diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. Not only have these connections been made, there have been correlations between GM foods and food allergies, increase in Type 2 Diabetes, parallel increase in Autism. It is important to note that there is not a single peer-reviewed scientific publication linking autism to GM crops.
What Does All of This Mean?
Although all of this research has come up with some upsetting results, nothing is completely conclusive. The question is, should consumers continue eating GM foods, or should they stop in concern to their physical health? I think this depends on your take on the research an information at had and whether you have more faith in the manufacturers to not sell something that could be potentially harmful, or the researchers who believe they have found information against the manufacturers but is not one hundred percent conclusive. This is the consumers choice but I do believe all consumers should be educated on which foods they are consuming that are genetically modified and the possible risks of what those foods entail.