Genetically modified foods are foods that have genes with altered DNA. About 80 percent of processed foods we eat are genetically modified foods. The benefits of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are that they are resistant to insects and herbicides. These GMOs have been altered to kill the disease-causing germs. Farmers benefit from these effects of GMOs as the crops and livestock are protected from pests and weeds. The genetically modified foods are juicier, attractive, and flavored according to the customer’s preferences.
Despite these benefits, a worldwide debate has arisen about the dangerous effects of genetically modified foods and their potential harm. Labeling is a major concern, and there are several myths and truths associated with GMOs and their effects, which have raised the call for food lists and labelling to identify safe products.
Since weed killers or pesticides sprayed on crops may not be safe, genetically modified foods may be dangerous for consumption due to the effects of weed killers. Studies suggest that ingestion of genetically modified foods may not be safe and cause harmful effects on health associated with the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems. These health effects may vary depending on the age of consumer or the extent of exposure. It is also a concern that pesticides sprayed on the genetically modified foods to extend the shelf lives of crops can cause birth defects.
Some researchers believe that effects of genetically modified foods may not be safe. Various arguments on the altering of the DNA during the modification of foods suggest that altered DNA has dangerous effects on the human biological processes and may not be safe for consumption. It is also worry that while altering the DNA, unwanted genes may be transferred onto the GMOs that may not be safe. Scientists suggest that transplantation of one gene to another may not be safe, causing adverse effects and leading to allergic and toxic reactions. Research conducted on rats and fishes have also provided negative results considering these foods not safe. These animal studies suggest genetically modified foods may be dangerous for health.
The food list of genetically modified foods includes papayas, milk, corn, tomato, soy, squash, and zucchini. These foods are not a complete food list of genetically modified foods. The GMOs food list helps identify the common genetically modified foods available in the market. The consumer has to make the decision whether to use them or not. GMOs have become so prolific that one may not be aware about consuming GMOs or of their extent in the daily food list.
The U.S. is the largest producer of GMOs. Experts state that 60 to 70 percent of processed foods available on the grocery shelves in the U.S. have ingredients derived from GMOs. In the U.S., some GMOs are eaten and considered safe while European countries still avoid them. Other countries like Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, India, and Argentina are also using GMOs and consider them safe. Food authorities study the effects of genetically modified foods, analyze them, and only then give their approval for consumption.
Some studies on genetically modified foods suggest that these are not less safe compared to the normal foods. GMOs help provide food for starving nations. To determine and detect the genetically modified foods among other foods, stringent labeling is recommended. Labeling helps in distinguishing GMOs from other foods and helps better decision-making.
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