Nutrition

Genetically engineered crops

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Genetically modified crops have some wondering if they are healthy or harmful
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Genetically engineered crops come with the pros and cons of modification

Genetically engineered crops are no strangers when it comes to controversy. While some claim these crops are beneficial to humans and the environment, others beg to differ. But before you introduce these foods into your diet, it’s smart to learn as much as you can about them. Once you have become aware of the facts, you should then decide whether or not to ingest these lab-altered substances.

There’s a good chance that when you think about biting into a crisp and delicious apple, you think it was grown naturally, on its own, by the grace of Mother Nature.  

But, you might be wrong. It may have started its life in a laboratory. Crops are often modified to help them become resistant to certain issues, such as disease. While this is great news for those who have troubles keeping a successful crop, it has others feeling nervous about eating anything that has experienced these modifications.

Genetically modifying a crop can also make it less susceptible to drought. This is done by locating the gene that makes the crop prone to drought and replacing it with another. Such technology can potentially help countries that have problems growing plants, which could actually help the world hunger situation. Some genetically modified crops are also cold-resistant and have less occurrences with weeds.



Although the benefits of these genetically modified crops are certainly present, some downsides are there, as well. One concern is that the crops that modified to respond well to herbicides will breed with weeds, creating an invasive plant that is extremely difficult to eliminate. Additionally, crops that are resistant to pests could actually harm the environment. Organisms that survive on a specific plant could die if they aren’t able to eat them because of the modifications. That unbalance in the environment could certainly cause major problems to the ecosystem.

Another concern about genetically modified crops is their potential to exacerbate allergies in those who consume them, which could potentially cause life-threatening problems. Introducing a new gene into a plant could cause those with food allergies to experience harmful reactions from eating the crops. Foods that are commonly modified include corn, soybean, potatoes, squash and papaya.

Furthermore, the effects genetically modified crops have on human health are unknown. Some critics fear that creating these “new” crops will cause harmful side effects to the health of those who eat them. However, until further testing is done, no one can really say for sure.

Bottom line is, do not eat the genetically modified crops if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Read the labels of your food products to see if they in fact contain such crops.  

Resources:

ProQuest: Genetically Modified Foods – Harmful or Helpful?

Mothers for Natural Law: Genetically Engineered Crop


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