7 Shocking Facts about Genetically Modified Food ...

Chelsie

Genetically modified products like corn and soy can be found throughout the grocery store, which is why it is important to pay attention to the facts about genetically modified food. Genetically modified (GM) food has been touted as safe, having the ability to end world hunger, and increase crop yields, but unfortunately none of this true. Yet, there has been a lot of advertising done to promote these false facts about genetically modified food, which is why it is important to know the truth about GM food.

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1

More Allergenic

One of the important facts about genetically modified food to understand is that it can be more allergenic. Researchers have found that GM pea plants cause allergic reactions in mice. This isn’t comforting news, considering allergies are on the rise. Yet, it is important to know so you can make informed choices as a consumer. While GM food isn’t labeled, you can safely assume that corn and soy products are GM unless otherwise noted, and you can avoid these foods if you want to.

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The incidence of allergies potentially linked to GM foods is particularly distressing for individuals sensitive to dietary changes. The example involving GM peas is a powerful reminder that even with rigorous testing, unexpected consequences may arise. It's worth noting, too, that certain GM foods may contain genes from allergenic organisms, posing a risk of inducing an allergic response in those predisposed. For peace of mind, one can seek out organic products or those bearing a non-GMO label, signifying foods produced without genetic modification.

2

Not Just Plants

While people tend to think of plants when they think of GMOs, animals are also genetically modified. Bovine growth hormone that is given to cows to increase their milk yield is actually the product of genetic modification. While bovine growth hormone is one instance of animals being affected by genetic modification, there are others. One example is AquaAdvantage salmon that has been genetically modified to grow bigger. This salmon hasn’t hit the markets yet, but it could if it gets FDA approval.

3

Imprecise Science

Genetic modification is often presented as being a precise science. In reality, scientists don’t fully understand what happens when they genetically modify an organism. What they do know is that the genes surrounding an inserted gene can be altered. As a result, properties in the plant or animal can change in ways that are unforeseen and could cause health or environmental problems.

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When DNA is tinkered with, the full scope of effects remains largely unknown. It's akin to a mystery box—alter one part and unintended cascades may ensue. Notably, 'off-target effects' can occur, where genes not intended for modification become altered. These invisible shifts might render crops resistant to pests or unexpectedly toxic to certain insects or soil microbes, upsetting delicate ecosystems. Concerningly, evidence suggests these genetic shifts could even foster allergenic or toxic compounds in our food, unbeknownst to consumers and regulators. Hence, the veil of precision in genetic engineering masks a realm of unpredictable consequences.

4

Pharmacrops

Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with genetic modification to insert genes into plants like corn that code for pharmaceutical drugs. There are advantages to doing this, because it is less expensive and safer than some traditional methods of manufacturing drugs. However, contamination from pollen spreading to food crops is a concern.

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The idea of harnessing the power of plants to produce medicines is innovative and could revolutionize healthcare delivery, especially for those in remote areas without access to pharmaceuticals. Medicinal plants might also offer a sustainable alternative, reducing the carbon footprint associated with drug production. However, the potential risk of cross-contamination not only threatens our food supply but also poses ethical questions around the unintended consumption of pharmaceuticals by an unsuspecting public. The balance between benefit and safety is delicate, and as research progresses, regulations must evolve to safeguard both our health and our meals.

5

Ending World Hunger

Genetically modified food has been presented as having the ability to end world hunger. The truth is genetic modification can’t end world hunger, but, according to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology, teaching sustainable farming methods would help immensely.

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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) hold great promise for increasing crop yields and nutritional value, which could potentially reduce hunger rates. However, true sustainability requires a multifaceted approach that also addresses economic inequalities, food distribution issues, and education. By integrating sustainable practices, such as crop diversity and water conservation, communities become equipped to support themselves over the long term. Therefore, it is not just about the crops we grow, but how and why we grow them, that factors into the complex equation of eradicating hunger globally.

6

Labeling Laws

Currently, GM food is not labeled in the U.S., despite the fact that many people would like to see it labeled. One of the main reasons GM food is not labeled is because it is considered to be “substantially equivalent” to non GM food since it tastes and looks the same. Very few people consider GM food to be the same as non GM food, yet the term “substantially equivalent” has resulted in a lack of labeling.

7

Costly to Farmers

Considering the large percentage of GM corn and soy, it would seem as if it is cheaper to produce GM food. However, it is actually costlier. Farmers are not allowed to use leftover seeds the next year. Instead, they have to purchase new seeds each year. Additionally, certain seeds, like cotton seeds, can be 500 times as expensive!

Genetically modified food is everywhere, and as consumers it is important to be informed about genetic modification and the facts that surround it. There is a lot to understand, and much of it is shocking. Which of these facts did you find the most shocking?

Source: Krimsky, Sheldon and Gruber, Jeremy, eds. The GMO Deception: What You Need to Know about the Food, Corporations, and Government Agencies Putting our Families and Environment at Risk. New York: Sky Horse Publishers, 2014. Print

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

I don't like the costs to farmers and the lack of labeling. Europe requires labeling and their seed policy is ridiculous.

It might cause more allergenics in mice but it might not in humans

I'd like to throw something in the ring that I'm pretty sure most of you don't realize. A massive percentage of the current fruit and vegetables we eat today ARE genetically modified. It is a practice that has been going on since time in memoriam. Farmers and botanists and food technicians in whatever guises they had back in centuries ago worked on making "normal" crops better. Better so they tasted better and produced higher yields. Many of what we eat today are "cultivars" of original fruits and veg - hybrids and bastards of what nature originally provided. The classic case being the carrot. The orange carrot did not exist in nature. It was created by the Dutch. Why do you think there are such things as heirloom and heritage fruit and veg? These are the originals we used to eat that were pushed aside in man's quest for better, faster growing, higher yield foods. The term GM has been built to have some kind of horror story around it, yet it is a practice that has been going on since man first ploughed the land for food. We're just better at it now and technology has helped science take it further than the first botanist who ever spliced one plant with another could ever have imagined. Something to think about in the whole debate of GM foods - no?

I'm so glad Neecey said that, I agree 100%. People tend to freak out when they hear that something has GMOs, but by definition we've been genetically modifying for centuries. The things that have been coming about more recently may have more cases of allergic reactions but that's just why we need to put more research into them instead of just using methods which yield lower crop amounts and are more susceptible to disease.

You are so right.But the sad thing is most they putting this in ALL our food.It makes me mad.Thats why im on a hunt for organic seeds and how to make my own seeds and have my own animals to grow.Because it is getting tough out here and this shit isnt healthy at all…

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