Although most parts of the world have enough food to cater for their population, some arid places in our continents are still in dare need of food. Food security is one of the reasons why Genetically Modified Food (GMF) was introduced. Of course, it has been of help to many suffering countries and been one of the most significant reliefs for most people over the past two decades.
However, critics and long debates are revolving around this field; hence, the need to understand what Genetically Modified Food entails. Let’s get started!
What is Genetically Modified Food (GMF)?
This refers to the type of food that has been grown using engineered methods rather than the natural method. Their genes have been altered and modified to portray some traits that naturally-grown plants or animals don’t have.
Although preliminary researches have been done to know the effects of GMF on the user, more advanced studies are under to determine how dangerous or harmless they can be to human life.
In one way or another, almost everyone across the globe has consumed GMF either in fruits, corn, or animal products. This genetically modified food was first introduced into the market in the late 1990s for commercial use. The year 1996 was the time when the first genetically modified plant was planted in the US soil.
Since its introduction, the multiplication of GMF has increased at a high rate across the globe. Currently, over 90% of all corn and soybean farms farmed in the United States are GMF. FDA has approved several foods in the US, including apples, potatoes, papaya, and sugar beets, among others.
When is GMF Consumed in the Market?
Since most plants and animal products are GMF, every time you consume these types of products, you consume GMF. Some of the standard GMF products in the market that you consume even without your knowledge include corn, beans, canola, eggs, pork, beef, etc.
Most European countries have outrightly banned these kinds of foods in their soil. Farmers are no longer allowed to grow this food. However, some type of genetically modified maize that is resistant to corn borers is still acceptable in the region, specifically in Spain.
Although WHO has reported that GM foods have moderate effects, is GMF safe to humans and their surroundings? Well, let’s briefly look at that.
Is GMF Safe for Human and Environment?
Some countries like the United States are raising the transparency bar by indicating which food is GMF and which one is not. With such difficulties in identifying the natural and the genetically tampered foods, you will need some extra keenness.
Since GM foods are grown genetically by adding foreign new genes into the plant or animal, many health experts have indicated that these kinds of foods may harm the health of the consumer.
One major fear that is in many people is the speculation that genetically modified food can easily cause cancers and enlargement of organs. Nevertheless, according to the World Health Organization, the only adverse effects of GMF is the transfer of genes, allergy, and outcrossing in plants.
When it comes to the environment, many researchers are concerned with their effect on pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds. These organisms have been surviving on these plants and traditionally enabled cross-pollination. There is also a concern about cross-fertilization in these genetically modified plants.
GMF safety and its effects on human beings and the environment seem to be a great and in-depth topic that many researchers seem not to be coming into a consensus. Many still believe that the negative consequences seen in the GM foods were as a result of testing one chemical compound in a plant rather than the entire mixture.
The uncertainty of what could happen to humans and the environment has made governments across the globe decide to introduce laws that regulate the development and advancement of GMF. In some countries, no GM foods are allowed in their lands; they are banned.
Most of the primary metabolism in plants which are used in making carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids are similar to the ones in animals. This similarity could be the reason many argue that these GM foods do not affect humans and animals.
For over 20 years, we have been using genetically modified food, and studies have shown that there has been no significant adverse effect on consumers and the environment.
Positively, these GMFs have saved the lives of many who were hunger-stricken. Besides, it has increased the return on investment of many businesses, which consequently increases the government’s revenue. Some countries have feared long term effects and decided to ban the foods while others are still allowing the food because of food scarcity. However, whichever the case, GMF should be regulated in the market and be well-labeled for transparency.