When you think of GM foods, what comes to mind? Food enhanced to give us exactly what we want or something that we should all avoid? In this article I shall be exploring the advantages & disadvantages to producing genetically modified foods.
The term GM foods is mostly used to refer to crops or plants which genetic coding has been altered to fit our needs whether it be to produce high yields or big and juicy fruits. All GM foods have been modified in a laboratory to enhance its biological feature. This process is usually known as genetic engineering which is currently growing rapidly with advances all the time.
So now we know what GM foods actually are, we can start to dig deeper and really find out what are the benefits. Know the biggest factor for farmers would be that GM foods are pest resistance. Tonnes of crops every year around the world are lost due to insects. This can lead to loss in finance for the farmer, but also cause starvation. Pest resistant would also do away with the use of pesticides which have a major impact in the surrounding area as was seen with DDT which is now banned in the western world. There are many viruses & bacteria that can affect plants too. Currently around the globe plant biologists are working to create GM plants which are resistant to certain diseases which affect then. In the long run this would help save money & resources and produce future offspring which are disease free. GM plants are not just suitable for farming they can also be applied in many other aspects of life. As our population grows, pollution becomes a never ending problem. Some plants have been genetically modified to help clear up our waste. Poplar trees have been designed to clean up heavy amounts of metal pollution from contaminated soil. Who’s to say that in years to come we could even have trees breaking down our landfill sites!
However, last year a study was carried out that showed that pollen from BT Corn (GM plant) caused high death rates in monarch butterfly caterpillars (MBC) which caused great uproar in affected areas. This brings us onto the fact that some GM plants may have a negative impact upon the world. Before DDT was banned, some populations of mosquitoes developed a resistance. This leads many people to fear that some insects could become resistant to BT Corn and many other genetically modified crops. The final and most important raised issue with GM foods is the human health risks. Many young children around the world are allergic to some sort of food. There are possibilities that when introducing new genes could create a new allergen and cause sudden allergic reactions. There could be countless health affects in years to come which could be directly linked to eating GM foods, which at the moment haven’t even been discovered. On the whole, with the exception of possible allergenicity, scientists believe that GM foods pose no risk to human health at this present time.
As a whole, GM foods pose good & bad points which many people have their own views about. But in my opinion I believe GM foods should be researched further and thought of as something that can help us solve many of the world’s problems.
Written by Lewis Godiff