As you may already know, some of the food you eat contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). The process involves isolating specific genes, and inserting them to create new crops with more desirable characteristics. Benefits include: higher yield, resistance to pests/infection and infusion of certain vitamins and minerals.
Which of your foods have been genetically modified? Good question. LiveStrong claims three of the most common GM (short for genetically modified) foods are: soy, corn and canola oil. However, food companies in the U.S. are not required to label these products.
It’s a hot button. Peru recently passed a 10-year ban on GM foods, including: seeds, livestock and fish. Peru’s Government believes the act will help to “defend [our] biodiversity, agriculture, [our] gastronomy and [our] health.”
Why all the controversy?
Literally speaking, the process changes our food’s DNA. Here’s a wiki quote:
These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes.
Pretty technical stuff. Let’s put it into perspective. Bio-Engineers take DNA from one form of life and put it into another. So it’s possible that your corn is actually part fish. Ridiculous, we know.
Is this a safe practice? Are GM foods safe for human consumption? The truth is, we don’t know. There’s not much data on the subject—the genetic modification process is young. There may be long-term side effects.
But we can speculate. For example, wind pollination may inadvertently transfer unwanted GM to adjacent crops. In time, GM foods may be linked to various health problems. Or maybe (and this is much less likely) the process will produce only positive results.
It remains to be seen whether the benefits will outweigh the costs, whether genetic modifications will do more harm than good…