Genetically engineered foods; are they cool? When I think of modern science resembling sci-fi movies from when I was a child, I get excited. However, then I realize this is realty and we are responsible for doing whats right. We live with the consequences of when we don’t. This has me concerned about genetically engineered food. As a result I am not too sure about genetically engineered foods, but lets explore the facts.
Genetically engineered foods (also know as bio-engineered) are defined as having had foreign genes (like ones from other plants or animals) inserted into their genetic codes. These foods were introduced in 1996. In 1996, 7 percent of soy and 1 percent of corn was genetically engineered. Presently the numbers have grown to 94 percent for soy and 88 percent for corn. Some claims of benefits of genetically engineered foods include: more nutritious food, tastier food, disease and drought resistant plants that require fewer environmental resources (water, fertilizer, etc.), decreased use of pesticides, increased supply of food with reduced cost and longer shelf life, faster growing plants and animals, food with more desirable traits, and foods that can be used as medications. Some of this may be true, but these benefits come with a variety of adverse effects. Many of these benefits are derived from organically produced foods without the adverse effects but at a higher cost. By allowing this the FDA, USDA, and EPA show concern for the corporations producing these foods rather than for the consumer. GE foods do not have to be labeled as such. Organically produced foods do not allow genetic modification.
I am not going to spend much time writing about all of the dangers of genetically modified foods. This is to keep this article within a certain size for the convenience of our readers. If you have time I recommend going to psrast.org. They offer a lot of great information that you should know about GE foods. You can also watch the video at the bottom of this article to learn more.
Farmers have bred their best livestock and saved seeds from their best crops for many years. Selective crop breeding has advanced with crop hybridization. Traditional breeding methods include cross breeding within the same species of plants and animals. This is a natural process that allows positive desired traits from both parents to appear in the offspring. With genetically engineered foods, they can take an animal gene and add it to a plant or the other way around. One example is putting a fish gene in the genetic code of a tomato to make it resistant to frost. Not only is this weird but now someone with a sea food allergy could have a bad reaction to a tomato.
Transgenic animals have been developed to promote faster growth, disease resistance, leaner meat, as well as to minimize the impact of animal waste. No transgenic food animals have been approved in the US yet. They do allow animal-derived products (such as pharmaceuticals) from transgenic animals. Animals that eat their natural diet (which is much richer in nutrients) are already more disease resistant than those eating grain in feed lots. Also, if they are roaming free in a spacious pasture they don’t have to be as disease resistant as those crammed together in unsanitary conditions. With organic farming practices the impact of animal waste is addressed by utilizing it to fertilize the growth of more animal feed or plant food for human consumption. This is the natural way of doing things.
Industrial agriculturalist have caused problems with the food they produce by cutting corners for financial gain. Now these same food producers are trying to find a cheap way to fix it like genetically engineered foods. The saying “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it” comes to mind. Additionally, we need to add the saying: “If it is broken don’t fix it by breaking it more”.
Here is great video by FearLessQA of fearlessrevolution.com about the negative effects from genetically engineered foods. This video is one hour long. If you have time, I highly recommend watching it.