There is a great debate going on right now on the subject of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. For some, the idea of GMO food is a good one because the modifications allow crops to become resistant to drought and infestations, letting more people have more regular meals. Some research even shows that the world produces 17% more food than it needs to produce to provide each current human with three squares per day!
Others look at genetically modified foods as a dangerous proposition. From allergic reactions to potential intestinal damage, many people wish to avoid GMO foods because of animal studies that have shown changes in internal cell structure, abnormal tumor growth, and unexpected deaths that have occurred. So what exactly are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
Pros of Genetically Modified Foods
Here are the primary benefits of GMO foods:
1. Better overall quality and taste.
Through the modification of foods, the flavors can be enhanced. Peppers can become spicier or sweeter. Corn can become sweeter. Difficult flavors can become more palatable.
2. More resistant to disease.
Plants and animals that have been genetically modified can become more resistant to the unexpected problems of disease. Think of it as a vaccine for that plant or animal, except that the vaccine is encoded into the genetics instead of a shot given to the immune system.
3. More nutrition benefits.
GMO foods can have vitamins and minerals added to them through genetic modifications to provide greater nutritive benefits to those who eat them. This is especially common in developing countries that don’t always have the access to needed resources.
Cons of Genetically Modified Foods
Here are the primary problems with GMO foods:
1. Environmental damage.
By growing plants or raising livestock in environmental conditions that normally wouldn’t support them, there is the potential of irrevocably damaging that environment. This is often seen through GMO crossbreading – weeds, for example, that can be crossed with GMO plants can often become resistant to herbicides, creating the need for more GMO efforts.
2. There is no economic value.
GMO foods take just as long to mature and take just as much effort to grow, meaning that there is no real economic value to growing GMO foods when compared to non-GMO foods.
3. A growth in allergic reactions in the general population.
Time and time again, studies have shown that the consumption of GMO foods increases the risks of food-based allergies in people. If someone develops an allergy to soy because of GMO efforts, then if livestock eats that GMO soy as well, that person would have a high probability of an allergic reaction from eating the animal meat.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
Why evaluate the pros and cons of genetically modified foods? The answer to this is, the benefits need to outweigh the risks when it comes to their mass production. In some areas, having access to GMO foods may make sense because resources are thin and people are dying from hunger. In other areas, however, the risks may outweigh the rewards. Where do you stand on GMO foods?