The topic of genetically modified foods is one that is hotly debated, but the problem is that the phrase GMO is very broad and encompasses techniques and modifications to food that you potentially should and shouldn't be concerned about. At this point in time there doesn't seem to be an overt benefit or risk to consuming GMO foods.
According to the FDA, the big three GMO foods are soybeans, corn, and canola. But the FDA has also evaluated the safety of genetic modifications to flax, tomatoes, potatoes, cantaloupe, alfalfa, creeping bentgrass, papaya, sugar beets, wheat, squash, radicchio, and plums. The FDA lists consultations on GMO foods and what was genetically modified in the food to warrant the safety consultation on its website. GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
The world population has topped 6 billion people and is predicted to double in the next 50 years. Ensuring an adequate food supply for this booming population is going to be a major challenge in the years to come. GM foods promise to meet this need in a number of ways:
Pest Resistance: Crop losses from insect pests can be staggering, resulting in devastating financial loss for farmers and starvation in developing countries. Farmers typically use many tons of chemical pesticides annually. Consumers do not wish to eat food that has been treated with pesticides because of potential health hazards, and run-off of agricultural wastes from excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers can poison the water supply and cause harm to the environment. Growing GM foods such as B.t. corn can help eliminate the application of chemical pesticides and reduce the cost of bringing a crop to market.
Herbicide tolerance: For some crops, it is...
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