GMOs have been the subject of controversy from consumers and scientists lately. Even though advertisers might try to present the seemingly many benefits that genetically altered plants and animals, it is vital that people also find out the ill effects so they can decide if the changes are really worth the damage. GMO history goes way back and is now quickly changing the way we see food and production for years to come.
Is GMO Development A Loaded Gun Pointed At Us?
GM foods are generally products that come from organisms that were altered genetically. These GMOs or genetically modified organisms go through certain changes within the DNA via various genetic engineering techniques. Many techniques are also present, like somaclonal variation and selective breeding. During the early 1990s, Californian Company Calegne created the first commercialized GM food. The product was GM tomato, also called "Flavr Savr". The new tomatoes were introduced in the market in 1994, although production halted after 3 years. The company was later on acquired by Monsanto Company.
GMO development offers quick promises, such as being able to harvest crops at a rate 2 to 4 times faster compared to the natural methods, as well as keeping products healthy and disease-free for months. Genetically modified livestock can withstand disease, while plants can stay safe from insects and contamination from herbicides and pesticides. However, the increasing resistance and tolerance these plants have toward the poisons will also mean that more will be needed to achieve the same effect. Human health can be put at risk, as GM foods become ridden with contaminants and chemicals.
Why The US And EU GMO Policy Is So Different
GMO policy in the United States and Europe is very different, since the United States is more lenient when it comes to growing and harvesting GM crops. Europe has a lot of regulations and laws that aim to protect human health and the environment, such as requiring GMO growers to segregate the crops, label synthetic products and do every means necessary to ensure that transgenic species do not mix with the wild or natural occurring produce. There is zero tolerance on unauthorized GMO food in Europe, while the United States only go as far as requiring manufacturers to label the products accordingly. The policies greatly differ, since the United States put more emphasis on lowering prices of commodities and staving off hunger in different parts of the country.
A lot of GMO debate is going on, focusing on the economic and environmental effects that GMO research pose. The Monsanto Company has created a huge niche for itself in the market by taking on big efforts and activities that cover GMO products. This could mean more problems to farmers and natural food growers, since genetically enhanced products can be made available faster and at a much cheaper rate. The prices of goods are also lower, so farmers can lose business if they continue to choose organic and natural products. In the long run, there are more consequences than the short-term benefits that GMOs provide.