BIOTECHNOLOGY AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD: A GENERAL OVERVIEW

May, 23, 2017  |  Biotechnology

Industrygovernment and academic scientists tout the benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods for agriculture, ecosystems, and human health and well-being, including feeding a world population bursting at the seams. With equal passion, consumer groups, environmental activists, religious organizations, and some scientists warn of unforeseen health, environmental, and socioeconomic consequences.

The debate concerns something very personal to each of us: what we and our children are eating. And whether you realize it or not, you've been consuming GM foods for some time. GM ingredients, in the form of modified enzymes, are found in virtually all breads, cheeses, sodas, and beers, and farmers have been raising GM food crops such as corn, soybeans, and potatoes since the mid-1990s. While you'll find few GM whole fruits or vegetables in your supermarket today, highly processed foods like breakfast cereals and vegetable oils very likely contain varying amounts of GM ingredients.

92% percent of the corn crop is genetically modified.

GM crop farming is expanding rapidly around the world. Global acreage of GM crops has risen from approximately 4.3 million acres in 1996 to about 444 million acres in 2015.

The arguments for and against genetically modified crops are largely the following:

  1. GM crops hurt the environment.

  2. GM crops help the environment.

  3. GM crops are unhealthy.

  4. GM crops offer health benefits.

  5. GM technology ultimately hurts farmers.

  6. GM technology helps farmers stay in business.

  7. GM crops are unnatural.

  8. GM crops are completely natural.

  9. GM crops are unregulated.

  10. GM crops are the most regulated and tested in our history.

  11. GM crops will allow farmers to feed a growing world population.

  12. GM crops are grown by corporations without regard for risks to people or environment.

Read more on each of these here.