Genetically Modified Organism, or GMO, is the process of genetically altering an animal, plant, organisms, or microorganisms to come up with an altered breed of two different species to come up with a new one, unlike natural cross-breeding which uses different genes of the same species.
This process is made through different procedures such as injecting the DNA of one specimen to another, feeding animals with GMO-induced feeds, or even cloning. It was made to genetically modify proteins in a food product to be induced in our body.
The most common food products with GMOs include:
- Sugar beet
- Animal products
According to a Genome scientist at the University of Washington Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, since these genes are totally foreign, this can pose a dangerous DNA protein combination in our food and this could lead to serious illnesses.
If this is the case, then why do we have GMOs in our food and why are they highly available in the market?
Benefits of GMO
Genetically modified products are still available all over the market because it has undeniable benefits especially to farmers.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, GMO have the following benefits to our food products:
- Acts as pesticide by keeping away harmful pests and weeds
- Increased crop production in a shorter amount of time
- More harvest in a small farm land
- Longer shelf life for crops and prevents them from rotting right away
- Better texture and flavor to crops
- More nutritional value
- Animals have higher resistance to diseases
- Cows and chickens produce better milk and eggs
The benefits of genetically modified food products are more inclined to the producers; not the consumers.
Is this merely about the profit?
Is GMO Profit-Driven?
We’d like to think that it’s more of sustainability rather than profit-driven.
The production and distribution of food has been a huge problem globally. With these benefits – more production and longer shelf life – food can be distributed and exported all over the world to sustain the basic needs of not only the natives, but other people who is in need of proper meal and nutrients.
Risks of GMO
It is not clear on what exactly are the risks of GMO in our body. But that fact that the food we eat has been genetically altered, this might give a negative effect towards our DNA, too. Our bodies absorb the proteins and nutrients that we get from our food, and if these nutrients are not of the same DNA construction as it originally should be, it might have the same ‘deconstruction’ effect towards our own DNA.
In a study entitled “The Debate on Labeling Genetically Modified Foods” by Phil Damery of the Iowa State University, there is no assurance that GMO products can do no harm in our body. Further, it stated that although products are carefully studied and tested, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration merely base their certification or verification of GMO products through the conclusions made by the agricultural companies and not on the type of tests and its procedures.
Organic & GMO-Free
Many movements (such as Non GMO Project) have been very active in promoting GMO-free foods. The best advice here is to always check the label.
Although it’s not a fool-proof way of determining whether the food is safe or not, but it’s the best ally we have in choosing the food to buy.
If it’s not as convincing, the best option then is to grow a garden of our own so we can properly monitor its growth and that we get them fresh in our backyards.