Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are often the subject of controversial articles and debates that spark outrage from both sides. There are cons and pros to their use, but the conflict is not likely to see an end any time soon. No matter what science says about its benefits and potential aid that it will offer future generations, there are still the drawbacks, such as health risks, that they have been said to have.
However, there are always two sides to every story. First, you have to properly understand what GMOs are and what precisely can they do to benefit our world. In the pro column, you have their potential for creating better alternatives to organic food, genetically engineered to take out the damaging compounds, and stave off the insects. It’s considered to be the futuristic solution to the global food shortage, one that is currently present in certain parts of the world.
Perhaps, with their help, the starving population of the world will acquire food faster and it will be easier for the agriculture. As we know, the problems with supplies will grow worse in the coming decades and centuries as the population expands.
On the con side of the argument are the issues that they might present with several health risks to humans. This ranges from causing adverse reactions to even forcing viruses to evolve, so they can maneuver around pesticides. Whichever you choose to believe, there will always be the good and the bad. Some products will be a prime example of one side while others will be something to point at for the other.
What Products Are Safe?
In general, scientists agree that GMOs are the beneficial products that can improve the health of the consumer. By engineering ingenuity and intervention, they can remove the toxic compounds that could be potentially detrimental to our health. They will reduce the use of pesticides and even remove unhealthy substances from the soil.
It’s considered to be one of the GMO products that present with nutritional improvement over the organic counterpart. Golden rice earned its name due to the beta-carotene in its composition that is sorely lacking in white rice. Thus, the genetically modified formula arrives with an extra boost of vitamin A after the carotenoids accumulate in your fatty tissues. This lowers the risk of several cancers (prostate, breast, and skin), blindness, infections, and degenerative diseases in adults.
It has been said that we can no longer ignore the benefits of genetically modified wheat. Monsanto has been working on a GMO variant that will help farmers use more environmentally friendly herbicides for their crops. They will hopefully expand their areas as they will be able to grow in harsher conditions. Given the ever-tightening water supplies, food shortage, and climate change, wheat might need to become a staple worldwide and fully accepted as safe.
Most genetically engineered crops have been deemed safe for consumption, as there has been no evidence that they increase food allergies, autism rates, or the gastrointestinal tract. Also to keep an eye out are the Plenish soybeans brought by Pioneer, and GMO potatoes by JR Simplot Co. Or you could go through the Monsanto GMO foods list to get an idea of what else is available though not yet tested.
What Products Are Unsafe?
The debate continues, though there are a few GMO products that have been considered to be wildly unsafe for human consumption. Luckily, a majority of their crops are still non-GMO, so their effect on the population is not as harsh as they could be. However, as some cleverly emphasized, due to the complex and innovative technology, the risks of GMOs may be far beyond our understanding and something we will see in the future.
Here is a list of GMO foods to avoid:
Easily the most infamous GMO product, it’s considered to be highly modified and should be avoided at all costs. In the United States alone, around 50% of all corn crops are genetically modified, even though they have been tied to weight gain and organ problems, including the liver and kidney. Direct consumption of Bt-corn (maize) has been linked to heart problems, issues with the adrenal glands, and the spleen. It’s a prime example where the organic counterpart shines.
Recognized as a genetically engineered sweetener, aspartame is a chemical that has been shown to cause neurotoxicity. Numerous problems, including cancer, leukemia, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma have been linked to its consumption. It’s easy to state that lab-created chemicals should be avoided when listed as ingredients in foods.
On the list of GMO foods to avoid are also:
- Sugar beets
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Soy (a study in Canada a damaging protein in the blood of both pregnant and non-pregnant woman)
- Corn starch
- Ice cream
The conflict related to this GMO foods list will likely continue for years to come, but the question is up in the air on which side will have to relent. Perhaps technology will prevail in creating better genetically engineered food in the future that will alleviate the worry of others. However, many are concerned that the simple labeling will turn some of the population away, which could ultimately be damaging to the food supplies of our world.