GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are organisms (plants and animals) that have had specific genes from a different species inserted into its own DNA. This results in the crop having new desirable features. Examples include papayas that are virus-resistant or corn that is herbicide-resistant. Our food has been genetically modified since the first GMO tomato (Flvr Svr) in the early 1990s. The acceptance of GMOs has varied between countries; the United States, Argentina, and Canada have quickly adopted GMOs while the EU countries have passed stricter legislation. There is a heated debate over whether GMOs are good or bad for our health, environment, world hunger, and the economy.
GMOs are bad
GMOs come with legal/economic risks (research restrictions and lawsuits against farmers) and health risks (increased amount of toxic herbicide on the crops and unintended DNA changes). The increased use of herbicide and decreased biodiversity associated with GMOs are also harmful to the environment.
There are health concerns related to GMOs
GMOs are not safe for people to consume. They could transfer antibiotic-resistant genes to the bacteria in our body, produce new toxins, or cause new allergic reactions. Also, a toxic herbicide is used more on GM crops.
There are legal and socioeconomic risks associated with GMOs
GMOs are patented which restricts the ability for independent research. It also allows corporations to sue when farmers have GM seeds accidentally flow onto their farms. This threatens the livelihoods of non-GMO and organic farmers.
GMOs have modifications that do not appear naturally. Genetic engineering can also cause unintended changes to the organism's DNA which can be difficult to test for and could be unsafe. People should not eat unnatural food.
GMOs have been extensively tested and have been proven safe for people to eat. GMOs are also good for the public because they are good for the environment, can help address world hunger, and can be a solution for growing amidst climate change. GMOs also lower the price of food.
GMOs have been proven safe
GMOs have received more testing than any other food and have been found to be safe. There have also been no related health issues found over the decades that people have been consuming them. GMOs have been proven safe for people to eat.
GMOs can address world hunger by adding nutrients to food, being disease resistant, producing higher yields, growing in severe weather conditions, and being able to be transported farther to those in need.
GMOs are too complex a topic to be summarized as either good or bad. GMOs cannot be evaluated as one group since there are too many different organisms, modifications, and techniques. There are many good aspects (or promising potential) to GMOs, but there are also serious risks.
We don’t have enough testing for the long-term health effects
We have not had enough testing to make an informed decision about whether GMOs are good or bad for our health. The research hasn’t been long enough, there haven’t been human trials, and all unintended changes and new proteins have not been assessed.
There are too many kinds of GMOs to try to evaluate them all together. There are medicines, vaccines, crops, and animals. The term GMOs also encompasses various biotechnology methods such as transgenesis, gene silencing, and mutagenesis.
There are many benefits (or promising potential) to GMOs, but there are also serious risks. GMOs have great potential to address world hunger and enable us to continue to grow enough while dealing with climate change. GMOs also cause harm to the environment and pose legal and economic problems.