There is a lot of speculation about GMOs today and basic research shows that the number of articles condemning them is equal to those singing the praises of these products. Today, we’ll try to help you see the truth of the matter by explaining some facts about GMO foods that would help you understand what they are exactly and how they affect both your body and the planet.
Let’s start with the term itself. GMO stands for genetically modified foods, and means any food that has been modified using DNA not inherent to the organism itself. Official sources, such as the American Association for Advancement of Science, claim that these products constitute a positive scientific breakthrough. In essence, they explain that GMO foods are an improvement created by the advancement of technology and state that the current studies of stock animals fed by these products do not cause any problems in the animal’s health.
Does that sound reassuring?
It certainly isn’t, especially when you consider the claims made by numerous biologists who strive to draw attention to the potential dangers of GMOs to both humans and the ecosystem. The proof they offer is that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that these products are indeed safe. An article published in the Environmental Science Europe journal in 2015 indicates that the foods that the FDA currently recognizes as ‘safe’ have not, in fact, undergone the rigorous testing and peer-reviewed approval process. However, this kind of verification is imperative to prove the quality of food beyond all reasonable doubt. There are also some animal studies that indicate GMO-fed rats have shown signs of obesity and various biochemical changes in their bodies. These changes aren’t openly harmful, but can be a sign of potential toxicity and other problems.
Considering these highly controversial facts, one definitely needs more information to determine whether GMO foods are safe to eat.
5 Facts About GMO Foods Everyone Should Know
Genetic Modification Does Make Plants Stronger
This is an irrefutable fact and the reason why this practice is used despite any kind of arguments presented by its opponents. The truth is that humans have damaged the planet to the point where pollution and climate changes make it impossible to grow sufficient amounts of crops without utilizing a variety of herbicides and similar solutions that protect the plants from various threats.
As a result, currently the majority of corn and soybeans are genetically modified to grow despite the fields being sprayed by solutions aimed to destroy weeds. Some other species of plants are genetically bred to resist viruses that have evolved or spread in the last few decades, for example, ringspot-resistant papaya in Hawaii.
Some GMO Plants Are Similar to Those Developed Through Selective Breeding
When analyzing facts about GMO foods it’s imperative to understand that the types of modifications may vary greatly. True, in some cases, the plant is infused with some virus DNA to make it resistant or with DNA from a totally different species of plant to enhance it in some way. However, there are products created by combining the genes of similar plants, which results in a more exotic and stronger breed.
This process can be replicated by selective breeding, a practice that has been used by both farmers and botanists for thousands of years. There can be no arguing the fact that there are no adverse effects to human health from foods created in this manner.
Unfortunately, today you cannot actually know HOW exactly your food has been genetically modified.
There Is No Way to Tell How Much GMO Food You Consume
Unfortunately, GMOs are so unregulated that it’s really impossible to determine how many of them truly get inside your body. Of course, you can minimize this amount by switching exclusively to organic products. This would be easier if you don’t eat meat as the overwhelming majority of livestock is fed by GMO foods. There are also ways vegans can save money on organic foods, so this diet can be affordable.
However, even considering the traditional practices of organic farming, one cannot be 100% sure as the producer might use genetically modified seeds and not mention this information. As the produce itself isn’t treated with any toxic elements, it would still qualify as organic.
These matters are extremely ‘murky’, which is the reason why strict regulation is impossible with the current level of knowledge and technology.
GMOs Have Been Around Long Enough to Show the Signs of Danger
This is one of the most important facts about GMO foods used by their supporters. The commercial use of genetically modified products started in 1994, and the technology for their creation has existed for over three decades. During all this time, the altered crops have been studied for any signs of potential dangers to the human health. The official version of the reported studies states that they do not have an adverse effect on us.
It must be noted that there are over 1,700 studies published on this topic; all of them peer-reviewed. Such a claim of safety does seem quite strong. However, while these foods definitely aren’t toxic, these studies do not prove that they don’t have an insidious debilitating effect on human health.
GMOs Contribute to the Fight Against World Hunger
Of all the facts about GMO foods, this is the one that makes it impossible to disregard their value in the modern world. We really need stronger, more resistant crops in order to provide people all over the world with nutrition. At the moment, even using genetically modified products doesn’t solve the problem of world hunger, but they do contribute to its solution.
When you consider this, you can understand that the acceptance of GMOs might be a matter of choosing the lesser risk. Of course, this shouldn’t close off other avenues of solving the planet’s food problem.
What You Can Learn by Analyzing the Facts About GMO Foods
The bottom line when it comes to GMOs is that there is no ultimate answer regarding their level of danger. This whole matter depends on the individual modified species and the type of changes made to them. In some cases, they are definitely good. In others, they might hide some dangers to the population.
As the issue is so controversial, it’s best to err on the side of caution and opt for safer, organic products whenever you can.