Posted on Aug 2017
Benefits of Genetically Modified Foods
There have been a lot of debates surrounding the genetically modified foods with different people as well as public interests groups actively protesting in opposition to the GM foods through the media. The controversies are mainly based on pollution, food supply, as well as nutritional issues. Genetic modification is not a new thing. Foods, as well as food crops, have been manipulated by human beings for a long time, by means of methods such as fermentation. Genetic engineering is merely the most recent form of biotechnology- and still the most precise one. Genetically modified foods are very beneficial to the lives of human beings as they help in addressing most of the issues that mankind faces in terms of food security.
Genetically modified foods increases the nutritional value that is obtained from them, addressing the concern regarding malnutrition. IUCN The World Conservation Union (2007) assert that “the idea of adding specific nutrients or substances to processed foods to make them healthy has been around since the 1940s when vitamins, iron and calcium were added to flour and more recently dairy products and eggs” (p.34). This shows that the idea of genetically modified foods has been present for a long time, being used to add nutrition to the foods we consume. In the world predominantly in the developing nations, there are high cases of malnutrition due to lack of a balanced diet in majority of the families. This is due to limited access to nutritive food which can be attributed to low, production supply and high demand which causes prices escalation. Nevertheless, maize does not have enough amounts of every essential nutrient that may avert the malnutrition. If the maize could undergo genetic engineering where vitamins, minerals, as well as other nutrient deficiencies, are introduced, malnutrition could be averted. In addition, due to this there is reduced purchasing power of food in the market that is a high contributor to malnutrition. To counter malnutrition, there is a great need to increase food supply in the market. This can be achieved through embracing genetic engineering in crop production that will satisfy the increasing demand of food in the market.
Genetically modified crops help in easing the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. As it is practiced currently, agriculture destroys the environment above any other activity by human beings, posing a challenge towards the global food security. Crops that are genetically engineered can ease this negative effect. Genetically modified crops that are insect resistant, for instance those that have bacterial Bt gene (that makes the plant to be toxic to particular pests), permits farmers to intensely cut down the application of sprays against the insects. The next-generation seeds might allow the farmers to retain high yields whereas using less chemical fertilizer, as well as water. Potential concerns with GM crops, for instance, the production of “super pests” are exaggerated by opponents, however, to the level that those dangers are actual they may be managed as well as averted. For instance, farmers may keep off promoting Bt-resistance among insects through the planting of non-GM acreage close to every GM plot.
Genetically modified foods have the potential of addressing the food needs of the world’s total population which is increasing on a daily basis, therefore overstretching resources such as land for agriculture. Due to this, approximately 34% of the world’s population according to WHO is facing risk of starvation while another 842 million people is already facing starvation in accordance to WFP. To counter this issue of food insecurity in the world, the idea of having genetically modified food should be supported as this very same technique has been proven to maximize production. Therefore, the number of people under starvation will continue dwindling when this technology continues to be implemented.
The people who provide criticism against genetically modified foods assert that they cause allergenicity. According to IUCN The World Conservation Union (2007):
“The potential of GM crops to be allergenic is one of the main suspected adverse health effects, due to in part to research by Hi-Bred in the mid-1990s. They discovered that soy bean plants engineered with a gene from Brazil nut produced beans that caused allergic reaction in some people” (p.33).
Nevertheless, there are no intrinsic differences that exist between the foods that are produced from plants that are genetically modified as well as those that are from non-genetically formed crops. Through the movement of the DNA piece from one organism to another by the scientists, there is no introduction of any “foreign” substances. The newly introduced gene simply stimulates the organism to articulate a desired characteristic. Corporations that desire to release a genetically modified seed or crop have the obligation to test how safe that product is. In case the product is manufactured from an organism that contains an identified allergen, it needs to undergo safety tests. There is no individual who has ever died, or become ill as a result of GM foods consumption.In conclusion, with the record of established benefits Genetically Modified foods have in practice, it is hard to clarify why there exist such ferocious opposition towards this technology. Genetically modified foods possess a lot of benefits despite the presence of a lot of pressure from the critiques who claim that the technology has a potential health risk. Genetically modified food have a capacity of playing an imperative role in maximizing productivity and at the same time supplement recommended nutritive value by health specialist. Therefore, the question as to whether this technology should be embraced needs to be looked into as world population continues to increase, and so is the demand for adequate food.
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