Genetically Modified Food - GM Foods

Just what are genetically modified (GM) organisms and GM foods? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are defined as organisms which has had their genetic material (DNA) altered in a way that does not currently occur in nature. There are many terms for this GM technology: modern biotechnology, gene technology, recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering.

Why are Genetically Modified Foods produced?

GM foods are developed because there is a real, or perceived, advantage to either the producer or consumer of these GM foods. For the consumer this can mean a lower price or a greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both. For the producer this can mean lower production costs, higher resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses and even lower usage of herbicides.

The facts about genetically modified food are appealing to some, but scary to others.

Genetically modified foods begin with the introduction of seeds which have been modified at the genetic level, changing the way they behave in the world. This has been thought to be the first step to curing the problem of world hunger and to help fight off those pests which can damage crops and hurt the income of farmers.

However, genetically modified foods are also linked to health issues since the plant is not exactly like the original plant. Though the plant might look the same, the long term effects of eating and growing genetically modified foods is unclear. Some are concerned these plants might have more disadvantages to GMOs than benefits for genetically modified crops since we are already aware of how genes can cause changes in our own health.

While the jury may still be out when it comes to genetically modified foods, there are options for everyone at the grocery store, so you can make your choice there.