GMOs are relatively new and, like anything new, there are conflicting viewpoints about many issues surrounding the use of these plants. One area that draws a lot of attention is whether these GMO plants and the foods that contain them are safe to eat.
There is no data to indicate that the consumption of GMOs is bad for human health.
As GMOs stand today, there are no health benefits to eating them over non-GMO foods. However, this may change in the future as technology develops and becomes more sophisticated.
GMOs are no more likely to cause allergic or toxic reactions than conventional crops. GMOs can actually be used to remove allergens from food. Scientists in the United States and Britain are already working on GMO products such as safer peanuts and gluten-free wheat. GMOs are used to produce more crops on less land
What is GMOs
A genetically modified organism is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques
A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism that has had its DNA altered or
modified in some way through genetic engineering.
In most cases, GMOs have been altered with DNA from another organism, be it a
bacterium, plant, virus, or animal; these organisms are sometimes referred to as “transgenic” organisms. A gene from a spider that helps the arachnid produce silk, for example, could be inserted into the DNA of an ordinary goat.
GMOs: Facts About Genetically Modified Food
- “GMO” doesn’t mean unsafe. The term “GMO” simply stands for “genetically modified organism,” which means agriculture scientists have given the plant different, beneficial properties.
- GMOs are precisely bred. To create GMOs, scientists take helpful qualities from one organism and add them to another. Scientists know exactly what changes occur, so the technique is precise.
- GMOs are thoroughly tested. GMO crops undergo rigorous testing before being introduced into the market.
- GMOs pose no more threat to humans or the environment than conventional crops do. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, GMOs and conventional crops are equally nonharmful.
- GMOs are no more likely to cause allergic or toxic reactions than conventional crops.
GMOs can actually be used to remove allergens from food. Scientists in the United States and Britain are already working on GMO products such as safer peanuts and gluten-free wheat.
- GMOs are used to produce more crops on less land. Compared with organic crops, GMOs can increase crop yield and nutritional value, reducing the land and resources needed to grow our food.
GMOs protect crops from pests, resulting in higher yields and smaller uses of crop protection chemicals.
- GMOs are among the most-studied items in agricultural science. A study conducted on GMOs in 2016 used over 900 sources to determine they do not pose any additional health risk than conventional alternatives.
- GMOs give us greater control. From corn that can protect itself from worms to crops that need fewer pesticides to prosper, GMOs are used to help us control the safety and nutritional value of our food.
- What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment? More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.
- How Harmful is GMO?
One area that draws a lot of attention is whether these GMO plants and the foods that contain them are safe to eat. There is no data to indicate that the consumption of GMOs is bad for human health
David Pinzon talks through the most frequently asked questions about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and how they benefit our food.
How safe are GMOs?
There are clearly two very different viewpoints when it comes to the health and safety of genetically engineered food — industry leaders and scientists who support GMOs and those who believe GMOs are harmful. Vocal anti-GMO activists — who refer to GMO crops as
“Frankenfoods” — argue that GMOs can cause environmental damage and health problems for consumers. One such anti-GMO organization is the Center for Food Safety, which calls the genetic engineering of plants and animals potentially “one of the greatest and most intractable environmental challenges of the 21st century.” Mary Vandewiele, co-owner of The Better Health Store, a chain of 14 health-oriented stores, says that the long-term effect of GMOs remains unknown. “In reading the literature, most of the science and myths are not clear and appear to be intertwined. GMOs have clearly impacted our food industry but to what extent the damage is and can be long term, appears to be uncertain and that is a problem.”
“Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals,” according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, a group of anti-GMO activists. “Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe,” according to the Non-GMO Project.
“In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.” However, many scientific organizations believe the fear-mongering that runs through discussions of GMO foods is more emotional than factual. “Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) said in a 2012 statement.
“The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: Consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM [genetically modified] crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques,” according to the AAAS.