Benefits and Threats of GMO and Non-GMO Production

Categories: Healthy Food

We all know what grocery shopping is like. We make our list and we head to the store. By the time we reach the aisles, we are faced with numerous products - all labeled with different things. The labels that tend to stick out in today’s time is GMO or Non-GMO. Many items include one of these two labels whether it is a can of tomatoes or a box of pasta. That being said, dozens of questions arise about the topic concerning GMOs.

Can this product really contain GMOs? Should I spend more money and purchase the specialty labeled Non-GMO product, or do I purchase the traditional GMO labeled product? Which product, GMO or Non-GMO, is better for my health? With unlimited information readily available at the fingertips of consumers, it is easy for one to stay up-to-date on how their food is being produced. However, with the various ways that our foods are marketed and portrayed through various forms of social media, it is easy to lose sight of the truth behind the countless misconceptions.

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In today’s society the basic definition of GMOs is commonly misinterpreted by the average consumer. To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s first discuss the basics.

According to Purdue Agriculture, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This means that the plant’s genes have been tweaked or changed in some form or fashion. Alterations to plants have been happening ever since the beginning of agriculture. As stated by GMOanswers.

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com, there are currently only 10 transgenics crops used on a commercial scale within the United States. These include “Apples, Alfalfa, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Papaya, Potatoes, Soybean, Sugar Beets, and Squash. ” There are still two sides of the debate on whether or not GMO products are safe for consumers and sustainable for our environment.

Supporters of GMOs often claim there is no specific evidence that GMOs cause a decline in people's health. Also, they support the claim that GMOs are one of the only ways to support 2050 challenge. The 2050 Challenge is idea of how to feed the rising population of nine billion by the year 2050. Scientific American stated, “In a sweeping 400-page report, the country’s top scientific group found there was no evidence to support claims that genetically modified organisms are dangerous for either the environment or human health. ” Those who support the production of GMO crops claim that the modification of crops is crucial to support the growing population.

On top of that supporters state that “most of the genetically modified crops commercially available have added traits that protect plants from pests and make them resistant to herbicides. But in the future, the technology could be used more to address crop vulnerabilities to climate change, by incorporating traits for drought resistance and for heat and cold tolerance…” (Scientific American) In agreeance to Scientific American, Popular Science stated “GMOs are just one tool to make sure the world is food-secure when we add two billion more people by 2050," says Pedro Sanchez, director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University's Earth Institute. ” With a growing number of GMO crops in the United States, many consumers fear that GMO crops cause allergies, cancers, and other health issues due to the Seralini Study. The Seralini Study was the first long term study on the health risk of GMO crops. The Seralini Study tested the effects of non-GMO corn, GMO corn, and GMO corn with pesticide.

A conclusion was quickly reached when the tested rats began contracting cancerous tumors. However, the conclusion was quickly debunked when both Non-GMO and GMO rats began contracting cancerous tumors. (gmoseralini. org) “More recently, researchers from the University of Perugia in Italy published a review of 1,783 GMO safety tests; 770 examined the health impact on humans or animals. They found no evidence that the foods are dangerous. ” (Popular Science) The Seralini Study and the study performed by the University of Perugia are supporting factors that GMOs don’t cause health issues for Pro-GMO activist. Contradictory to the Pro-GMO activist there are several consumers out there that are very much supporters of Non-GMO foods. Anti-GMO activist claim that GMOs are harmful to human health, they contaminate the soil, and there are other methods to feed the population. Anti-GMO activist accuse GMOs of causing an increase of allergies, poor nutrition, digestive issues, even Autism. Responsibletechnology. org states, “The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. ” On top of that Responsibletechnology. org also stated, “The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years. . . Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors' groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk. ”

In agreeance with Responsibletechnology. org, enhs. umn. edu published this quote in an article, “However, there are several types of potential health effects that could result from the insertion of a novel gene into an organism. Health effects of primary concern to safety assessors are production of new allergens, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance (Bernstein et al. , 2003). ” Supporters of Non-GMOs state that the producers use of herbicides and pesticides that are used on genetically modified plants leads to soil contamination. Many of them also believe that the use of herbicides leads to runoff which causes water contamination. “Most GMO crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant” deadly weed killer. . . Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. ” (responsibletechnology. org) “Studies have shown that pesticide-producing crops contaminate nearby streams, possibly affecting aquatic life. . . (responsibletechnology. org/gmoeducation) Finally, Anti-GMO supporters claim there are several other sustainable ways to feed the growing population and that GMOs don’t increase the yield average. One article recently stated, “Given that creating just one genetically engineered crop variety can cost upwards of £87 million ($130 million), you’d think Big Ag companies (and indeed governments) would prioritize investments in strategies that have been proven to work and less on GMOs that may not even increase crop yields. ” (gmfreeme. org) The article did display some bias as being a completely genetically modified free site, they offered specific facts to support the claims of Anti-GMO Advocates.

The website also stated “The world already produces enough food to feed 14 billion people. But still people go hungry. ” According to Beyond GM’s Lawrence Woodward for, among other reasons, “food waste, disparity in wealth, a dysfunctional farming and food system, the malign power of corporations and speculation in food that borders on the corrupt and the immoral” With any controversial issue, there will always be two sides of the debate. As consumers, we have to make decisions every time we step foot into the grocery store. Will we buy a product that contains GMOs, or will we buy a Non-GMO labeled product? The choice is up to you. You are the only person that can decided what you will and will not consume. It is our job as consumers to make informed decisions. We have to decipher between what it truth or just simply a misconception. The choice is yours.

Updated: Feb 27, 2024
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Benefits and Threats of GMO and Non-GMO Production. (2024, Feb 27). Retrieved from

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