Despite the increasing debate and controversy that is surrounding genetically modified foods, GMO proponents suggest that there are further developments that consumers can expect in this industry. In fact, they are now focusing on using genetic engineering on plants with disease or drought problems so as to improve nutrient levels and enhance growth and yield. These developments are expected to continue on to the international level with more consultations to be conducted with the FDA and World Health Organization.
Why Are Genetically Engineered Foods Produced?
If there are so many controversies surrounding the production of genetically engineered foods, it is a mystery why they are produced in the first place. The main reason why it is produced and marketed is due to the advantages it has to offer for both consumers and its producers. The main benefit that is derived from genetically engineered food is the lowered price. Meanwhile, other benefits are also expected such as increased nutritional value and greater yield. Developers of GE crops initially intended this agricultural innovation to allow farmers to adapt to the changing farming methods that are suited for modern times.
Another reason why genetically modified foods are produced is to increase the level of crop protection. How is this possible? Basically, many of the GE foods that are sold in the market are known for their resistance against various causes of plant diseases, whether it be caused by virus or bacteria. With increased crop protection, crop producers can increase their yield and gain more profits in return.
GE crops develop resistance against insects that damage the crops by injecting a gene toxin into the plant that will enable it to resist any diseases that the insect will introduce to the plant. One particular type of bacterium that is injected to the crop is the Bacillus thuringiensis or BT, which is why genetically engineered foods are also known as BT crops. Aside from insect resistance, these crops are also genetically altered to increase virus resistance and tolerance to herbicides that are commonly used on crops for a simplified weed management.
Arguments Against Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Despite the positive benefits listed above when concerning the production of GE foods, why is there so much resistance over its commercial release into the market? There are several arguments against GMO foods that consumers should think about before buying.
The first major argument against anti-GMO and environmental activists concern the potential damage it can bring to the environment. It is not just the plants that could be potentially contaminated with the widespread of these genetically modified varieties of crops, but also animals and other forms of wildlife.
The bioethical issues and medical ethics codes are also being dismissed during the testing of the genetically modified foods for its possible release into the market. In addition, the exposure to the toxins and lose of the natural nutritional component of the food and crops in the process does not seem to offer as much benefits as organic produce.