Genetically engineered food has always had a colorful reputation. GMO food is believed to be the answer which will end world hunger and malnutrition and poverty. But are genetically engineered food really that good? Is there any difference between GMO vegetables and ones grown the good old fashioned way?
First of all, there are different ways that a particular food can be deemed “good.” Sometimes people judge by taste. Others by durability. Others by nutritional value. And perhaps there are also people who judge by taste and appearance.
Well, for one thing, whether a GMO vegetable is any better than the naturally grown kind depends on a lot of things. Genetically modified plants and vegetables have been altered to possess different characteristics like, increased tolerance to herbicides, pesticides. They can even be made to be more durable against pests. For example, there are plants which have been genetically modified to be pest-resistant.
As wonderful as the traits of the GMO fruits and vegetables are, there is still that number one concern that most, if not all of the consumers, are worried about: Safety.
Just how safe are genetically modified food against the normal, even organically, grown food? After all, consumers don’t and wouldn’t want to eat something which could be very bad for their health.
Generally, traditional foods are safe. They’ve been eaten for thousands of years, and humans have always thrived. As for genetically modified foods, the World Health Organization states that specific assessments are needed to attest to a particular GM food’s safety.
And with genetically modified crops, specifically GM vegetables, there are three major concerns regarding their production and consumption.
Genetically modified foods are rigorously tested for if they have the unwanted tendency to provoke allergic reactions to those who ingest them.
Tests whether a genetically modified food transfers genes to the cells of the body or to the gastrointestinal tract are also conducted. Genes such as resistances to antibiotics, can prove harmful to people.
Humans aren’t the only ones in danger from the ill-effects of genetically engineered plants. The environment can also suffer if the genes from GM plants pass on unwanted traits to the natural plants growing in the area. That’s why clear separation of GM crops from non-genetically modified crops is very important.
When these things are taken into consideration, modified crops such as GMO vegetables aren’t really that good – not for people and not for the environment.
The question remains then, is there really a need to continue planting GMO crops?
How Is The Safety Of Genetically Modified Crops Determined?
Genetically modified crops have different genes inserted in different ways. Naturally, the safety of each particular GM food should be tested on a case by case basis. There is no way that a generalization as to the safety of GM food should be made and stringent tests should be done on each GMO crop.
GE Alfalfa Deregulation Will Do More Harm Than Good
And since genetically modified crops don’t do more good for the world, they can do more harm instead. Take for example, GE alfalfa. While the US has deregulated the planting of GE alfalfa, the genetically engineered crops can actually outcross their traits to other nearby crops.
GMO vegetables obviously have flaws. Consumers should be very aware of such things and should know that GMO vegetables are really not all that good.