Pros and Cons of GMO’s

In order to have a happy, healthy lifestyle, you need to balance your diet and your physical health accordingly. Unfortunately, the state of our food is not always within our control and an affordable, nutritious diet sometimes seems difficult to follow.

Over the past two decades people from various institutions around the world have been questioning the health risks behind Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). GMO refers to the altering of organisms’ DNA, so GM foods mainly refer to soy, corn, or other crops grown from seeds with genetically engineered DNA. The process behind GMO’s is one that not many people understand very clearly, which may have detrimental effects to people’s objection/approval regarding its exposure.

Opinions around the matter vary extensively; 38 countries worldwide have banned the cultivation of GM foods, while countries like South Africa have welcomed GM foods with open arms. Debating this topic is crucial for the future of our world’s food supply; will it really make us sick? Or are protests against GMO’s potentially disabling our ability to fight poverty and combat the issues that we face regarding global warming?

Let’s explore the basic pros and cons of GM foods:

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

It allows for a higher quantity of crops to grow in less time and with less effort, which boost the production of farms who are struggling to grow crops because of conditions caused by global warming.

GMO seeds are more expensive than organic seeds.

Farmers spend less money on herbicides and pesticides which means their profits can increase. Using less herbicides and pesticides will also have positive effects on the eco system.

The bacteria and viruses used to modify organism holds the possibility of triggering new allergies to the human body.

The soil where crops are farmed is protected because less tiling is required, which causes a chain reaction of advantages.

Studies providing scientific evidence are still underway, but some believe that GM foods could make us antibiotic resistant.

Crops can survive storms, droughts and poor weather conditions better, so food shortage will decrease drastically during difficult farming times which will aid people globally.

Whereas organic plants produce natural pesticides that humans have ingested for years, GM plants may be altered with pesticides which are new to the human body and could temporarily be rendered harmful.

The quality of crops are improved so that food colours are stronger and shelf life is longer. This will create a drastic improvement regarding food wastage.

If the process of GMO is not followed ethically, other organisms may get harmed, which leads to low levels of biodiversity.

Food can be modified to increase nutritional value, such as protein, calcium and folate, which is useful to rural populations and can combat extreme conditions of poverty and malnutrition.

GM plants cancontain glyphosate, which has estrogen-like qualities and is therefore believed by some to induce breast cancer. However, many scientists and professionals argue this point profusely; further study is still underway.

Some GMO’s eliminate seeds which is what makes seedless watermelon or grapes etc.

Animal products can be genetically engineered into plants, which is detrimental to those with dietary restrictions (vegans, certain religions etc.).

While the pros in this table shine a bright light on our future, some readers may seriously fear the cons. However, the disadvantages only seem extreme because of the focus that is being placed on it. In other words, imagine the table was also presenting the advantages vs disadvantages of most of the fast food outlets our country (let alone, the whole world) consumes? The balance of this table would change drastically, making the pros outweigh the cons adequately and realistically.

You may also want to read on The Health Risks of Eating too Much Salt.

Leave a Reply