Today we are going to discuss about the risks of eating GM foods, otherwise known as GMO foods.  GMO stands for Genetically Modified Foods or sometimes shortened as GM Foods, but some call it Genetically Engineered Foods. When we say that something is a GMO, it means that these are foods that have been produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. To explain this further, genetic engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristics – the genes – of an organism by manipulating it’s genetic material.

But the real question behind this is if genetically modified foods are safe to eat? This who food modification began back in 1994 when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. Most GMOs focus on manipulating “cash crops” that are in high demand by farmers like soybean, canola, corn, and cotton seen oil. The purpose behind this is to make the plants more resistant to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. However, it has been said that there has been a general scientific agreement that food from genetically modified crops is not inherently riskier to human health than conventional food but should be tested. What do you you think this?

 

 

Of course, there’s a lot of people who are afraid of these because when you think about it, it is unnatural. It is said that people fear what they do not fully understand, so let us dig deeper into the process of GMO.

 

Think of GMO as something that is similar to “selective breeding”. This is a process in which organism – specifically animals with desired traits are used to breed the next generation and animals that are lacking the desired traits are not bred anymore. Scientists believe that they are doing the society good by enhancing the nutrition and shelf life of some products. Did you know that GMOs aren’t limited to fruits and vegetables? Yes, they have also started doing it to animals. The first genetically modified animal to be approved was the AquAdvantage Salmon back in the year 2005. With the help of genetic engineering, the salmon were transformed using growth-hormone-regulating gene from another breed of Salmon – the Pacific Chinook salmon and also a promoter from an Ocean Pout that enabled humans to grow the AqaAdvantage Salmon all year round, instead of only spring and summer.

 

There were different reactions from people, of course. Some of them were happy because of the increase in stocks, but other were worried and dismayed about the process having bad effects on the human body and also the environment in the long run. It kind of did get in the way of how mother nature works.

 

 

The debate about whether GMO is really safe or not is still on going. There have been protests about it and requests about keeping it out of supermarkets and groceries stores.

 

The way GMO works is very simple. Scientist add one or more genes to an organism’s genome from another organism. It is uncommon for genes which are already in an organism to be silenced or removed to increase productivity. Once it is satisfactory, the producer will now apply for the regulatory approval to field test the product called “field release”. It is now time to cultivate the plants on farm field or grow the animals in a controlled environment. If the experiments prove themselves to be successful, then the producer will now apply for the approval to grow and market it. It will then be sold to farmers who will be responsible for cultivating and marketing it.

 

What do you think about GMO? Would you purchase a GMO food for your family?

 

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