Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe To Eat?

The field of genetic promises a lot for better of agriculture and production of food products. It has opened new avenues in agriculture and involves the introduction of the foreign gene of desired quality into a large species of plants. This method, however, has some drawbacks, as the qualities of plants are not passed to the next generation. Moreover, when a foreign gene is introduced into a plant, there are more chances that the levels of undesired quality increase significantly. For example – when the plant is modified for higher yield, then it may reduce its immunity levels to certain diseases and hampers the growth of the plant. This may even prove fatal to the plant and make it unplantable. A nearly magical experience is possible if the qualities of genetically modified plants were enhanced leaving no space for side effects.

There is no evidence that genetically modified plants are unhealthy or risky to eat. There is a great possibility of that genetically modified plants have side effects and must be examined case-by-case. New and innovative techniques are being developed to address the concerns such as antibiotic resistance, unintended transfer of genes, etc. Genetic engineering of plants could offer some health benefits such as – reducing the use of pesticides, enhancing the quality of food, etc.

Millions of people across the globe consume food derived from genetically modified plants and till date no negative effects are observed. Some scientists claim that, genetically modified food does not show short-term effects, but will have the impact if consumed for the long period. One may experience the problem of allergies and toxins and can lead to serious concerns. The use of genes from plants with known toxins and allergies are discouraged by healthcare professionals. Extensive testing has been carried out to know about the toxic and allergy levels. If high levels of toxins and allergies are found in the food derived from genetically modified plants, then that food product is supposed to be banned.

Pros and cons

Genetically modified food has some advantages and disadvantages. They contain transgenic animals or plants, which make them stronger, bigger and healthier. It can help them survive when exposed to pesticides, germs and insects. There are numerous benefits of genetically modified food. For instance, In India, a large number of people eat rice. Genetically modified plants help in higher yields. Moreover, it makes regular rice more nutritious and gives it extra vitamins and iron. People who support genetically grown food can help people living in poor countries. It can even help end world hunger.
Some people believe that genetically modified food have a negative effect and could create strange animal and plant breeds. They are not sure what negative effects the food is going to show on people, but they call them ‘frankenfoods’. One specific concern is that the foreign gene might be taken mistakenly from plants that are allergic. Though the proteins in those plants trigger a reaction, it will not put the person in life threatening condition. Another problem is genetically modified plants might breed along with other plants that are grown with them creating cross breeding problems.

The Author is associated with The Trivedi Effect and has written many articles on Growing mustard seeds, chick pea, organic farming, ginseng, agricultural production, genetically modified plants sustainable agriculture etc.

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