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Is GMO Food the Future?

1. What is GMO?
2. What is the production of GM food?
3. GMO food as the future of nutrition – production benefits
4. Controversy around GMOs
5. GMO food. Does it promote cancer development?
6. Resistance to antibacterial agents
7. What is outcrossing in GMOs?
8. How to recognize a GMO product?
9. GMO Food Statistics
10. Prognosis for the future of genetically modified food

What is GMO?

Engineers have been working on plants for years using genetically modified organisms or GMOs (short for genetically modified organisms). All this to make them more resistant to possible unfavorable weather and climatic conditions. It is also important – with consumers in mind – that they are more nutritious and taste better.

The production of such plants, however, raises a lot of controversy in various environments. People are concerned for their safety. There is therefore much debate about the pros and cons of using GMOs. However, the question that should be asked is: GM food the future? We will try to discuss the hypothesis.

What is the production of GM food?

A producer creates a GMO by introducing genetic material or DNA from another organism. This process is called genetic engineering. Most of the GMO products available today are plants like fruits and vegetables. All genetically modified plant foods sold in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It must meet the same safety requirements as traditional food.

There is some controversy about the benefits and risks of GM food. So we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of GMO crops. We will take into account their potential impact on human health and the environment.

GMO food as the future of nutrition - production benefits

Genetic modification can increase the resistance of crops to disease as they grow. Producers use genetic modifications to give the food the desired characteristics. For example, they developed two new varieties of apples. They are less brown when cut or crushed. By GMO we mean increasing the disease resistance of crops as they grow. Manufacturers also design products to be more nutritious or herbicide tolerant.

Crop protection is the main reason for this type of genetic modification. Plants that are more resistant to insect-borne diseases or viruses. They provide producers with higher yields and are a more attractive product. Genetic modification also sometimes increases the nutritional value or improves the taste of the product. All of the above factors contribute to lower costs for the consumer. The advantage of implementing GMOs is also the chance to provide access to high-quality food to more people.

Controversy around GMOs

As GM food is a relatively new practice, little is known about the long-term effects and safety. There are many disadvantages to using genetic modification. However, there is no conclusive evidence for this. Currently, there is an ongoing debate about possible potential health problems related to GMO food. The research is therefore ongoing. Some people believe that GMO foods can cause allergic reactions. This is because they may contain genes for the allergen – a food that triggers an allergic reaction.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, emphasizes that genetic engineers do not use DNA from allergens in the production of modified foods. They only do this if they can prove that the gene used is not causing the problem. So far, however, researchers have not registered a case of an allergic reaction after consuming a genetically modified product.

GMO food. Does it promote cancer development?

Many scientists believe that eating GMO foods can contribute to the development of cancer. They make this thesis because cancer is caused by mutations in DNA. According to them, therefore, introducing new genes into the body is dangerous. The American Cancer Society (ACS), however, concludes that there is no evidence of this. To possibly confirm this hypothesis, years of research and experience of researchers are needed for this.

Resistance to antibacterial agents

Genetic modification can increase the resistance of the crop to disease or make it more resistant to herbicides. So it can also affect people’s ability to defend themselves against disease. There is a small chance that the genes in the food can spread to cells in the body or to bacteria in the gut. Some GMO plants contain genes that make them resistant to certain antibiotics.

This resistance can spread to people. Worldwide, there is a growing concern that people are becoming more resistant to antibiotics. GMO foods can also contribute to this crisis. The WHO confirms that the risk of gene transfer is low. However, just in case, he set guidelines for GMO food producers.

What is outcrossing in GMOs?

External crossing refers to the risk of mixing the genes of some GMO plants with those of conventional crops. There is also speculation about low levels of GMO crops approved for animal feed. The same is the case for industrial use as well as for food intended for human consumption.

How to recognize a GMO product?

Ideally, producers should be required to clearly label GM food if it is significantly different from its traditional counterpart. However, in the United States, no regulations require the labeling of GM food. This is because these foods must meet the same safety standards that apply to all FDA regulated products, so there should be no need for additional regulation.

The FDA states that GM food should be labeled with the appropriate symbol if it is significantly different from its conventional counterpart. E.g:

  • GMO canola oil contains more lauric acid than traditional canola oil. It should therefore be noted;
  • GMO soybean oil contains more oleic acid than non-GMO soybean oil;
  • GMO soybean oil with high stearidonic acid content, which is not naturally present in the oil, must be labeled “soybean stearidate”.

The new national standard for bioengineered food disclosure has already entered into force in January 2020. Under the new rules, all foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients will be labeled “bioengineered” or “bioengineered”.

GMO Food Statistics

Until the new rules came into force, there was no clear way to know if a food contains GMO ingredients. GMO foods have been available in the United States since the 1990s. The most popular GMO crops grown in the country are cotton, corn, and soybeans. Certainly, herbicide-resistant crops allow pesticides to be used more efficiently. The US Department of Agriculture reports that by 2014, 94% of soybean crops and 91% of cotton were genetically modified.

Today, up to 90% of the country’s maize tycoons are produced from herbicide-resistant seeds. Seeds from genetically modified and insect-resistant crops account for 82% of all domestic maize and 85% of all cotton grown in the US. Potatoes, squash, apples, and papayas are also commonly modified.

Most GM crops become an ingredient in other foods. These include, for example: corn starch in sauces and soups, beet sugar, any soy and rapeseed oils, as well as corn syrup present in sweeteners.

Prognosis for the future of genetically modified food

Genetic modification can make plants resistant to diseases or herbicides. This process can increase the amount of food farmers are able to grow. This can lower prices and contribute to food safety. However, GM crops are relatively new. Thus, scientists know little about their long-term safety and health effects. There are several health problems associated with GMO foods, and the evidence for this is not yet supported by clear theses. Further research will be required to reach final conclusions.

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