Is it safe to eat GMOs?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question, “is it safe to eat GMOs?”. As well, we will discuss what are the means of GMOs, why make genetically modified food products, what is biotechnology, and other concerns about GMOs. 

Is it safe to eat GMOs?

Yes, it is safe to eat GMOs, as they are not harmful to humans. Food that is genetically modified has many benefits, and this is why they were created. Federal authorities make sure that GMOs are safe to eat.   

What are the means of GMOs?

The meaning of GMOs is Genetically Modified Organisms and are related to living organisms that had their genetic material modified in laboratories, with genetic engineering.  

Why make 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. 

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 grow 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. 

How can I know if I am eating GMOs products?

According to the FDA, all GMOs products sold at supermarkets or anywhere will have the description “bioengineered food” with the respective symbol on the food label, even if the food contains just one ingredient which is GMOs. To know more about it, click here.  

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have discussed the question, “is it safe to eat GMOs?”. As well, we have discussed what the means of GMOs are, why we make genetically modified food products, what biotechnology is, and other concerns about GMOs.

References

https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/gmo-crops-animal-food-and-beyond Accessed: 05/19/2022 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotechnology Accessed: 05/19/2022

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/gm-plants/is-it-safe-to-eat-gm-crops/ Accessed: 05/19/2022

https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/how-gmos-are-regulated-food-and-plant-safety-united-states Accessed: 05/19/2022

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.