Is it safe to eat genetically modified products?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “is it safe to eat genetically modified products?”. As well, we will discuss what are genetically modified food products, who regulates genetically modified organisms, and other concerns about genetically modified food.  

Is it safe to eat genetically modified products?

Yes, it is safe to eat genetically modified food products and there is no substantial evidence that proves the opposite, but there are claims which prove that genetically modified food products can have many benefits. 

What are genetically modified food products?   

In agriculture, there are many studies involving biotechnology which includes genetically modified foods. The aim of using this technology is the quality of the foods and is mainly used in crops. GMO means genetically modified organisms. 

What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a science that uses natural sources and engineering sciences to reach developed and improved products, by modifying the organisms for human benefit. Biotechnology is used in animals and plants.   

Who regulates genetically modified organisms?

The federal agency Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the U.S. is the principal responsible for regulating and making sure the safety of genetically modified organisms. 

How are genetically modified crops? 

In the U.S. there are a variety of GMO crops and some of them have huge participation in the crop grown. Below are listed some curiosities about the GMO crops, according to FDA.

  • GMO soybeans grow up 94% of all cultures of soybeans planted in 2018;
  • GMO cotton grow up 94% of all cultures of cotton planted in 2018;
  • About 92% of all cultures of corn planted in 2018, 94% were from GMO corn;
  • GMO canola grow up 95% of all cultures of canola planted in 2013; 
  • GMO sugar grows up 99.9% of all cultures of sugar beets harvested.

What are examples of genetically modified crops?

In the U.S.  the examples of genetic modification are in corn, soybean, cotton, potato, papaya, summer squash, canola, alfalfa, apple, and sugar beet. Below are some curiosities about each one, according to the FDA.

  • GMO corn (Bacillus thuringiensis). The aim of doing genetic modification in corn is mainly to tolerate herbicides and resist pests, this modified corn produces some proteins that are toxic to specific pests, but not to humans, production animals, pets, and other animals;
  • GMO soybeans. Almost all soy cultures in the U.S. are genetically modified and are used as food for production animals and to make soybean oil or as ingredients in processed foods;
  • GMO cotton. The aim of doing genetic modification in cotton is mainly to resist bollworms. The cotton is used in the textile industry, to make cottonseed oil, or as food for production animals;
  • GMO potato. There is more than one type of genetically modified, one was created to resist disease and insect pests, other was created to resist bruising and browning;
  • GMO papaya (rainbow papaya). The aim of doing genetic modification in papaya is mainly to resist the ringspot virus;
  • GMO summer squash. The aim of doing genetic modification in summer squash is mainly to resist viruses;
  • GMO canola. The aim of doing genetic modification in canola is mainly to resist the contact with herbicides, then the farmers can control weeds on their farm through the application of herbicides;
  • GMO alfalfa. The aim of doing genetic modification in alfalfa is mainly to resist the contact with herbicides, then the farmers can use spray herbicides to protect alfalfa against destructive weeds;
  • GMO apple. The aim of doing genetic modification in apples is mainly to resist browning after harvest;
  • GMO sugar beet. The aim of doing genetic modification in sugar beet is mainly to resist the contact with herbicides, then the farmers can control weeds on their farm through the application of herbicides. 

Do production animals eat genetically modified crops?

Yes, production animals eat genetically modified crops. According to the FDA, in the U.S. about 95% of the production animals eat GMO crops. When animals are fed GMO crops, these animals do not change into GMOs.

Do production animals that eat genetically modified crops have the same nutrients? 

There is no difference in nutritional value when comparing animals that are fed with GMO crops to animals that are not fed with GMO crops. Also, the aspects of quality are the same. To know more about it, click here

Do there exist animals that were genetically modified?

The FDA recently approved a project that involves genetically modified Atlantic salmon, which grows faster and contains the same nutrients as non-GMO salmon. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have discussed the question “is it safe to eat genetically modified products?”. As well, we have discussed what are genetically modified food products, who regulates genetically modified organisms, and other concerns about genetically modified food.

References

https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/gmo-crops-animal-food-and-beyond Accessed: 05/04/2022 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotechnology Accessed: 05/04/2022

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/gm-plants/is-it-safe-to-eat-gm-crops/ Accessed: 05/04/2022

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