What are Genetically Modified Food and how does it work?

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD (GM FOOD)

Genetically modified food is food derived from another organism such as bacterium, virus, animal, and plants whose genetic material has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally and is also known as genetically engineered food or bioengineered food.

 The Genetically modified crops have been developed to improve yield, through the introduction of resistance to plant diseases and tolerance of herbicide. Genetically modified foods have been on the US market since 1994, ever since the introduction of Flavr Savr” tomatoes that had been engineered to ripen more slowly.

Genetically modified crop

Why would anyone make genetically modified food?

Many people question the use of GMOs merely for the sake of chemical resistance. Some feel that decreasing the use of herbicides and pesticides would allow us to stop using GMOs completely. But there are many other uses for genetic modification that we cannot easily give up.

GMOs have the potential to solve many hunger and health problems across the earth. Lack of food due to our growing population size is one issue that can be reduced by GMO use. As the population is increasing, we are struggling to keep up with the demand for food.

For now, we are still expanding agriculture into new areas, but this has lead to a problem with finding new land. If we have no more land to use, then we need to find a way to grow more food on the same amount of land.

Hence, GMOs make this a possibility; they allow us to grow taller, more productive, and more resistant crops, meaning we yield more food per crop (Bennett, 2014).

GMOs can also improve the ability of plants to survive in harsh environments. This is useful in allowing agricultural practices to expand into areas that were once impossible to grow in. Not all GMO crops are designed to increase survival traits like drought resistance or flood resistance.

There is genetically modified food that is designed to have health benefits. Golden Rice is an example of this. In Africa and Asia, childhood blindness is a common side effect of Vitamin A Deficiency-Related Disorders, which causes lifelong illness and death.

The goal of the Golden Rice Project was to develop rice with higher levels of vitamin A. This crop was very successful in reducing the rates of childhood blindness.

GMOs may also be used to assist in cleaning up toxic waste sites. Phytoremediation is the process of using plants to absorb contaminants from polluted sites. This process is proving to be far more eco-friendly and cost-effective than traditional remediation methods Because of their many potential benefits,

GMOs are already widely used in food crops. It is potentially the new industry standard for growing desired traits in crops, so it will be used more and more in the coming years.

How widespread are GM foods?

Companies have also used genetic engineering to create certain enzymes and hormones for cheese and milk production. around the world, the vast majority of GM crops are grown in just five countries are the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and India.

Globally, 12% of all cropland is planted with genetically engineered plants, although growth appears to be slow according to the report.

GM crops currently approved to be grown in the US?

Soybean Corn
Cotton Canola
Sugarbeets Alfalfa
Papaya yellow”crook neck” squash
Zucchini “arctic” Apple
“innate” Potato  

Advantages of Genetically Modified Foods                                                                 

  1. Food supplies become predictable. 
  2. Nutritional content can be improved. 
  3. We receive medical benefits from GMO crops. 
  4. Genetically modified foods have prolonged shelf life, so its easier to transport.
  5. It creates foods that are more appealing to eat
  6. Herbicides and pesticides are used less often. 

 Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Foods

  1. GMO crops may cause antibiotic resistance. 
  2. Farmers growing genetically modified foods have a greater legal liability. 
  3. Genes go into different plant species. 
  4. Independent research is not allowed. 
  5. Some genetically modified foods may present a carcinogen exposure risk. 

How are GM foods regulated?

In the US, genetically modified crops are regulated by three different agencies.

  •  Department of agriculture regulates field testing of GM crops for research.
  •  Environmental protection agency regulates plants with pest-resistant.
  • The food and drug administration regulates any GM crops that are eaten by humans or animals.

CURRENT USE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

  • SOYBEAN for herbicide resistance
  • CORN for insecticide resistance
  • CANOLA for altered fatty acid composition
  • PLUM for virus resistance
  • RICE for vitamin enrichment                                                                                      
  • TOBACCO for vaccines   
  • MAIZE for oral vaccines
  • COHO SALMON for faster maturation

The Big 6 pesticide Co. and GMO corporations produce GMOs seeds:-

  • BASF
  • BAYER
  • DUPONT
  • DOW
  • MONSANTO
  • SYNGENTA

WHAT FOOD COMPANIES USED GMOs

  • Monsanto
  • DuPont/Pioneer
  • Pepsico
  • Coca-Cola
  • Kraft Foods
  • General Mills
  • The Hershey Co.
  • J.M. Smucker Co.
  • Dow AgroSciences, a Dow Chemical Company
  • Kellogg Co.
  • Conagra Foods
  • Flowers Food Inc.
  • Smithfield Foods

WHAT’S THE DEBATE OVER LABELLING GM FOODS?

Would you be shocked to know that Genetically modified food is not always labeled as such? Unlike 60+ countries worldwide, the United States does not require food producers to market their products as GMOs.

Instead, these modified foods can be passed as food produced naturally which isn’t really the case.

  • Arguments for labeling: Those in favor of labeling laws, including organic food companies and food activists, argue that people have a right to know what’s in their food. the critics raise the issue that labeling law will be dominated by a large group like Monsanto and Dupont.
  • Arguments against labeling: Those opposed to the laws, including various seed and biotechnology giants, argue that the law could lead to higher prices at the grocery store against food companies.
  • Currently, some 64 countries require labeling of GM foods, including Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia.

CONCLUSION

Genetically-engineered crops are as safe to eat as their non-GE counterparts, they have no adverse environmental impacts, and they have reduced the use of pesticides.

First of all, the consumption of genetically modified GM foods in relation to health risks posed to the human body has never been tested. But, other studies conducted on animals such as pigs, cows, and chickens consuming GMOs have revealed that there is in fact related health problems.

Even further studies have shown that GMOs are dangerous to the environment as well.

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