There might be only a few of us who have heard of genetically modified foods; however, this process of engineering food is actually becoming very common nowadays. Genetically modified foods are otherwise known as genetically engineered foods. This is actually the latest contribution of genetic engineering technology in the society. These foods are modified through the insertion of genes of other species into the DNA. This type of genetic modification is now used in both plants and animals; nevertheless, the use of these on plants and other food sources is more common. Genetically engineering foods do have certain advantages that come to it. However, cons with regards to this process are also present which made a rise to countless issues against food engineering. For us to understand more about these; here are some pros and cons of genetically modified food.
Why do we modify food?
There are actually several reasons as to why genetically modifying foods is being done these days. One of the known reasons is the prevention of certain allergic reactions to food once ingested or consumed. Genetically engineering foods can also increase the shelf life of food making it last longer and in return, helps save us more money. Experts have also explained that by modifying these foods, the chances of it in curing certain diseases are high. Some of the most common types of foods that are genetically modified include soybeans, potatoes, corn, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, canola, carrots, cotton and cantaloupe. Despite all these wonderful plans or goals of DNA food engineering, disadvantages in this kind of process are present. Below is the list of pros and cons with regards to this matter.
Pros of Genetically Modified Food
• Treatment for Diseases – One of the main advantages or purposes of genetically modified foods is that it can aid in curing certain diseases. Aside from this, food allergies are also lessened once these foods are engineered. This is done by the successful elimination of the properties that causes the allergic reaction.
• Increase Growth Rate of Foods – Once foods are genetically engineered, it can grow faster than any other foods that are grown in the traditional or the regular manner. Because of this, the productivity of food is increased giving more food to compensate the increasing demand of the public of the population. In addition to these, genetically modified foods are also considered advantageous especially in places with droughts wherein soil is incompetent for agriculture. This basically eradicates the difficulties in growing normal crops.
• More Cost Effective – Buying the seeds of these modified foods are said to be quite expensive; however, the entire process of the production is a lot cheaper than the production of traditional crops. This is due to the fact that modified foods are cheaper to grow and maintain that traditional foods. An example of this is the lesser investment on insecticides and other pest control agents since modified foods already have natural resistance against these pests. Aside from this, the reduction to the exposure of food from the harmful components of pesticides can produce foods that chemical free and is also environment friendly.
• High Vitamin and Nutrient Composition – Genetically modified foods are known to be great sources of nutrients and can contain more minerals and vitamins compared to the traditionally grown foods. Modified foods are also tastier and more delicious. Fruits that are genetically engineered are said to be sweeter and these foods are also less likely to rot fast compared to those that aren’t modified.
Cons of genetically Modified Food
• Harmful Effects to the Body – one of the main cons or disadvantages of having genetically engineered foods is the possibility of having harmful effects to the body. Although it is designed to target or treat certain diseases, its side effects can also cause health problems that can be immune from antibiotics. Aside from this, experts have also concluded that the consumption of genetically engineered foods can increase the chance of developing cancer in the body. Because of this, many people still prefer to stay away from these modified types of foods.
• Cover up – another con with these types of foods is that most companies do not include in their labels that the food they are selling is genetically engineered. This prevents people from having the choice of using traditionally grown food products.
• Against Natural Ways – Many religious groups and communities are already against the production of genetically modified foods. This is in relation to the unnaturalness of producing foods which is seen as against the law of God. Many people are also uncomfortable with the idea of transferring animal genes to plants or vice versa. This cross pollination process is also considered damage to the other organisms that live in the environment.
• Shift of Power – Once genetically modified foods are accepted, more and more developing countries will start to rely on industrial countries due to their control of power as time passes.
These are just some of the common pros and cons of having genetically engineered foods. In issues such as this, it is very important that both sides of the spectrum are being weighed evenly before offering any of our support. The advantages are very tempting indeed, but the disadvantages that this process entails cannot and should not be ruled out easily.