Genetically modified foods are becoming increasingly common in many countries. However, before one opts for any of these foods, it is very important to know about its advantages and disadvantages in detail.
Genetically modified food items are made by inserting genes of other species into their DNA. Though this kind of genetic modification is used both in plants and animals, it is found more commonly in the former than in the latter.
There are a variety of reasons for developing such food products. Some eatables are genetically modified to prevent the occurrence of allergies after consumption, while some are developed to improve their shelf life.
Scientists are also working on developing food that has the ability to cure certain diseases.
Some of these foods available in the market are soybean, canola, potatoes, eggplant, strawberries, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, cantaloupe, carrots, etc.
Though developers and manufacturers make sure that there are various advantages of consuming these foods, a fair bit of the population is entirely against them.
These foods help in controlling the occurrence of certain diseases. There are some foods that cause allergy when consumed. By modifying DNA system of these foods, the properties causing allergies are eliminated successfully.
It is also said that these foods grow faster than foods grown in the traditional manner. Due to this, productivity increases, providing the population with more food.
At times, genetically engineered food crops can be grown at places with unfavorable climatic conditions too.
It is also claimed that these foods are a boon in places that experience frequent droughts or where the soil is incompetent for agriculture, due to which it is difficult to grow normal crops.
Lower Production Costs
Seeds for such foods are expensive but cost of production is less than traditional crops because these have natural resistance towards pests and insects. So, not many pesticides and insecticides have to be sprayed on them.
This reduces the necessity of exposing genetically modified crops to harmful pesticides and insecticides, making these foods chemical-free and environment-friendly as well.
Longer Shelf Life
Genetically engineered foods are said to be high in nutrients and contain more minerals and vitamins than those found in traditionally grown foods.
These foods are also known to taste better. Another reason for people opting for genetically engineered foods is that they have an increased shelf life.
Side Effects to Health
It is believed that consumption of these genetically engineered foods can cause side effects like diseases that are immune to antibiotics. Moreover, people who consume such foods have high chances of developing cancer.
Unnatural Means of Production
Many religious and cultural communities are against such foods because they see it as an unnatural way of producing food. Many people are also not comfortable with the idea of transferring animal genes into plants and vice versa.
Side Effects on Ecosystem
This cross-pollination method can cause damage to other organisms that thrive in the environment.
Experts are of the opinion that with the increase of such foods, developing countries would start depending more on industrial countries because it is likely that the food production would be controlled by them in the time to come.
As these foods are new inventions, not much is known about their long-term effects on human beings. As the health effects are unknown, many people prefer to stay away from these food products.
Though the advantages of genetically engineered food sound promising, the disadvantages cannot be ruled out completely.