GMO in Foods
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a reasonably well-known concept. This experimental technology modifies DNA from different species, including plants, animals, and bacteria, to create a longer lasting food product. Many people are not aware of the adverse side effects GMOs can cause to the body (“What are GMOs?”). Although it might be a solution to creating an abundance of food production, GMOs are harmful to the environment and increases the risk of health problems on the consumers (Baetens).
The purpose of GMOs is to produce plant and animals for food use that have increased size, disease resistance, larger crop yield, and better overall quality. Drought and soil-tolerant are also cultivated by the GMO technique, which is beneficial for farmers in places with humid and coastal weather conditions. For example, monsoons are heavy, seasonal rainfall that occurs in East, South and Southeast Asia. Often the crops would be largely damaged, but with GMOs, they can withstand the storms (Sivall). Even so, the price of crops will fluctuate because farmers have to pay for the use of biotechnology (Brookes). Soil-tolerant is less cost-effective for the farmers, thus raising the price for the consumers to purchase the foods.
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Most GMOs crops are selected to be herbicide tolerant. Over time, the seeds can become antibiotic resistance and cause hormone disruption to the human body. Consumption of the modified gene can move into the micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal tract of humans or animals. The bacteria in the lumen of the stomach can develop a resistance to that specific antibiotic. The chance of gene alteration is small but should be taken into consideration for the safety of the people (Bhargava).
Many consumers are against eating GMOs in their diet. They prefer organic and anti-hormone free foods. On the other hand, genetically engineered (GE) crops are increasing chemical pollution. “Genetically enhanced superweeds may well become a severe environmental problem in coming years,” (GE Food & the Environment”). Also, biotechnology companies are monopolizing the seed markets, and the farmers are paying the escalated prices, resulting in debt.
Supermarkets, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, are popular among other commercial grocery stores. They offer a variety of certified organic and natural, non-GMO foods. According to a recent study by the Grand View Research, Americans are buying more organic food and household products than before. Today, organic food currently represents a $43 billion industry in the United States and $77.4 billion worldwide. It is estimated that the global organic food and beverage market was poised to reach $320.5 billion by 2025.
Genetically modified crops could have unintended consequences for the environment. Chemical usage has increased in agriculture. Weeds in the grass will develop a tolerance to the weed killer, so farmers have to spread stronger chemicals to remove them. Crop yields formulated with Bt genetic material to ensure against particular pests may diminish the effectiveness of this nonchemical pesticide by improving resistance to it.
The cross contamination of non-GMO caused by genetically engineered crops will imitate and spread, significantly changing biological systems and threatening the natural wildlife (Grossman).
GMOs can become a monopoly in the food industry. Three multinational corporations – Archer Daniels, Cargill, and Bunge – control nearly 90% of the global seed market. GE food crops are then processed into food products by eleven multinationals firm that accounts for almost half the world sales of seeds, of which about 25% are the sales of genetically engineered seeds. These genetically engineered seeds are now focused on soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola oil.
GMOs can be an advantage for the “…developing world where there is low productivity in the agricultural sector,” (Bhargava). However, there are harmful side effects from the chemicals in the GMOs. People should have an awareness of the importance of eating a healthy diet without harsh pesticides and processed foods.