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To GM Foods or Not?

To GM Foods or Not?

Genetically Modified (GM) foods and genetically engineered crops have faced a controversy and become a heated topic over the last several decades and without a foreseen end on the debate anytime soon.  The term “genetically modified” is a term used to describe certain food crops that are modified through a specific range of techniques which aim to give crops completely new or improved qualities. This was done to either improve the resistance towards pests or increase nutritional value of the food. It is a process in which scientists and technologists meddle with nature with the thought of creating it for the benefit of mankind for a number of reasons. Deciding to or not to buy or support GM foods is a decision that you are free to decide. You, as a woman which is considered a major consumer should consider this in decision-making for you and your family and for you to decide well, better to know some facts to consider.

By genetically modifying foods, technologists are able to insert a certain gene from one organism to another which normally does not contain that gene naturally. The particular gene can be acquired from one or more organisms and would require several tests before considering the transfer successful in accordance to the desired results. For instance, a specific kind of bacteria which have a protein that can eliminate larvae of certain insects will be used to a certain crop by transferring its gene into the crop and ending up with the GM crop that is resistant to that certain insects or pest. This has been seen as a great benefit for farmers to reduce costs of crops due to use of pesticides and at the same time increasing crop yields without using toxic pesticides and herbicides.

You may start to wonder how this good purpose seems to be a controversy.  Considering the benefits towards farmers, you may appreciate the GM Foods and support it. However, if you came to study more thoroughly the process of genetic modification, you will begin to learn and realize that the results and consequences are not always good. Results are not always predictable especially when you deal with the complexity of nature. As such, there are some cases that results issues towards human or environmental health and damage to the delicate ecosystem. For example eating GM foods can cause allergies as an effect of modification. For example, you are allergic to peanuts and a gene from peanut is inserted to an apple. You, being not allergic to apple ate the apple genetically modified thinking that there is no allergy issue. Yet, you can end up suffering a major immunological reaction as a result of the genetic modification. With that health care is becoming an issue.

Another idea is that micronutrient deficiency can be alleviated with genetically modifying foods thus, solving issues on poverty of certain countries by increasing a nutrient in a staple food for that specific country. In the same light, others still believe that instead of GM foods, we should focus on ways to improve access to aboard range of nutritious foods towards countries.

The issue on the effect of GM foods is a very big factor why genetic modification is controlled. It can negatively affect the balance of nature and the normal cycle of all living organisms in the ecosystem. According to some, providing one advantage given by GM foods is not enough if the disadvantage can destroy nature’s balance. A single effect can add up becoming more severe until it will become intolerable; form personal health, to global environmental issues.

Still you can find several GM foods around the market. There are a number of GM Foods around the world and it simply depends on where you live and the labeling laws around GM foods and if you decided not to support GM foods, you can avoid some of them unless they are specifically labeled free of GM ingredients. They can be classified into 2 main types of GM crops; (1) ones that can tolerate herbicides and (2) ones that are toxic to certain kinds of pests.

  • Soybeans are commonly modified food. A type on Monsanto is resistant o herbicides. This herbicide resistant gene is removed from bacteria and inserted to soybeans.
  • Corn is engineered to be resistant to pesticides and tolerates amount until such level that would typically affect the crop. Sweet corn is a GM foods that is able to produce toxins that kills insects and reduces problems with pests.
  • Tomatoes are modified in a different way to keep freshness and quality for a longer period of time. A tomato will be modified so that it doesn’t have a substance that would cause spoilage to non-GM tomatoes.
  • Potatoes, rapeseed and sugar cane are also GM food to become resistant to some pesticides.
  • Rice is called the ‘golden rice’ because of the modification to contain high levels of vitamin A.

Whether to buy or support GM foods or not, is your choice. Some people doesn’t really care if what they eat are GM foods or not and there are those who are deeply concern of the effect of GM foods to human health and possible negative effects towards the environment. If you chose to avoid GM foods, you should be very careful because such foods are becoming difficult to avoid. GM seeds can be easily transferred from neighboring farms. You can simply look for labels indicating the food is free from GM techniques. There are also some stores and supermarkets that completely avoid GM foods in which everything will you buy will ensure you not to purchase GM foods.

Genetically modified foods have the potential to be many different things but their use and support may vary throughout the world. One thing for sure is that these foods can affect YOU-the consumer. For consumers, to support or to avoid GM foods is a personal choice. By becoming informed and educated about this issue, you can consider all the aspects and can make you create the best political and personal choice on the role of genetically modified foods will do in your life. The purpose of creating GM foods was not really about disrupting the balance of nature. It originated with a goal to help people in terms of farming, increase productivity of crops, increasing shelf life to make food last longer, and increase nutritional value of food all for the benefit of mankind. Still, change is inevitable and there are changes that are very unpredictable. For scientists, the best way is to improve testing of GM foods. Before releasing it out in the market, make sure that the food is safe and would provide consumers the right information to avoid problems in personal and environmental health in the future.

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