A genetically modified food is a plant or seed that has been modified by plant breeders from its natural state to improve or change its natural state. The modification may be to improve or simply change the plant or seed to make something farmers needs to produce their crops. Farmers have used GMO for thousands of years. Some of the pros are there is a resistance to insects, tolerance to herbicides, tolerance to heat, cold, and drought, and of course larger crop yields. Farmers select what type of crop they would like to grow. They later select what trait they would like for the crop to have. They may live in an area where insect may be the cause of crops failure so they will select a trait to resist insects. Or the farmer may live in an area where drought has been common the past few years and they need a crop that is resistant to drought.
After the farmer has given the scientist the traits and type of crop they wish to grow, the scientist will search for the closest gene that meets the trait the farmer is looking for. Once the scientist has located and identified the specific gene and trait, they later transfer the gene into a crop. The improved plant is tested thoroughly. Researchers will look for differences in the genetically modified plant from the natural plant. Before the plant can be placed on the market, it is tested in 75 different studies to ensure that it is safe for, people, plants, and the environment. After the testing has been completed, it has to be approved by three different US agencies USDA, EPA, and FDA.
After it has been approved by these agencies, it can be placed on the market. As you can see, there are a lot of important steps and details that take place when presenting any GMO to the market. Giving a farmer the ability to grow fresh crops in areas that may not have the perfect planting grounds or atmosphere to grow crops is extremely beneficial to millions of people across the world. The ability to grow large drops helps keep the cost of produce down as well. Even with the thorough testing and detailed work that goes into GMO products, there are still cons to GMOs. Some of the cons found are increased allergies, Antibiotic resistance, and cancer. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention have reported an increase in allergies for children under the age of 18. There has been an increase from 1997 to 1999 from 3.4 percent to 5.1 percent between 2009 and 2011. Some people believe that the increase is due to the number of GMO foods on the market.
There is no evidence that GMOs is the likely cause of the increase in allergies. When scientist modify seeds, they use an antibiotic-resistant gene during the engineering process. Some consumers are wondering if the GMOs have anything to do with the resistance to antibiotics. There have been no studies to confirm this claim. In 2013 the journal Food and Toxicology retracted a paper that linked herbicide Roundup and Roundup Tolerant GM corn to cancer in premature deaths in rats. Due to the concerned that was raised because of the paper, the journals’ editor reviewed researchers’ raw data and the peer review process and tit was determined they used too few rats and the strain of rats used were prone to cancer.
The results were deemed inconclusive. Studies and research have not been conclusive to any of the cons listed. I believe with the thorough testing of all GMOs before being placed on the market, there is no real need to be concerned with the health and quality of GMO products on the market. The US has several organizations in place to continuously monitor the quality of the food we consume. The CDC is very instrumental in making everyone aware of any foods that have be found to cause wide spread illness and or death. With the climate changes and unpredictable weather the past few years, the genetically modified foods have been a great help with allowing crops the ability to survive droughts, heat, and severe cold. The GMO has helped keep the cost of farm raised products affordable for the consumers.
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