Is genetically modified food a better or worse thing for us today?

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  1. profile image0
    Tom Maitlandposted 14 years ago

    I've been asked to do a little bit of research into people's ideas of genetically modified food. This can range from disease-resistant crops, to using genetic modification to make our tomatos redder and orangers oranger. Does all this worry you, or do you think over all it's better?

    Would be great to hear your thoughts on it, so I can get an idea of the general consensus.

    1. sarovai profile image73
      sarovaiposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      welcome maitland, Genetically modified food , really needs kick up, but still fear remains.

    2. rebekahELLE profile image85
      rebekahELLEposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      whether we favor them or not, we are eating them. much of our corn is GM unless you know you bought it from an organic farmer. corn is in almost everything in one form or another.

      it's big profit for agribusiness as it produces a higher yield.

      introducing foreign genes into our food with little regulatory oversight cannot be a good thing on human health. labeling of GM foods is not mandatory.

      there is no guarantee of cross-food contamination being detected.

      while researching for a couple of hubs I wrote, I found out from the Center of Food Safety that up to 45% of the corn grown in the US is genetically engineered as well as 85% of the soybeans. (that figure may be higher)

      Want to guess how much of the food in the supermarket aisles contain genetically engineered ingredients...... estimated at 70-75%!

      Michael Pollan writes about this also.

      I believe we need to stop messing around with our food, label it properly and be more involved and aware of what goes on in our food industry.

    3. johnsams profile image68
      johnsamsposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I prefer organic food even though the potential benefits, risks and concerns regarding genetically modified foods that are still being researched and debated and there is no current evidence that suggests that GM foods are likely to be harmful to health. GM foods can carry unpredictable toxins, antibiotic resistance may develop in humans and may increase the risk of allergenic reactions.

      For instance, during laboratory testing, a gene from the Brazil nut was introduced into soybeans. It was found that people with allergies to Brazil nuts could also be allergic to soybeans that had been genetically modified in this way and so the project was ceased. No allergic effects have been found with currently approved GM foods.

    4. psycheskinner profile image84
      psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know of any genetic modification done for purely cosmetic reasons, it is generally done for nutritional or pest-resistence reasons.  It does not effect food safety or value so I don't avoid eating it.  There are some enviornmental and social justice concerns though.

  2. Rochelle Frank profile image91
    Rochelle Frankposted 14 years ago

    I think it sounds a little problematic-- but you need to research the reactions to Luther Burbank's experiments which resulted in a lot of hybrid and "genetically improved" crops.
    Today we think  a lot of these varieties are 'natural'.

  3. katiem2 profile image60
    katiem2posted 14 years ago

    I'm a strong advocate for Organic Food!  smile

  4. SomewayOuttaHere profile image60
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 14 years ago

    i don't know why some people strive for perfection especially with our food.  well, i do - boils down to money, supply and demand.  some should visit the local small farmer (who grows organically) and see what that is all about...i don't care if my apple is more colourful and perfectly shaped, it's in the taste and there is a big difference in taste when compared to the food churned out of 'high tech farms' (as I like to call them).  Even meat, fowl and fish are better to the taste when matured/grown naturally.  some of us haven't experienced that however and others are forgetting how food tastes in its natural state.

    Saw broccoli 4 sale in the local grocery store once that had a stalk on it that was so big - I had to ask what it was.  It was broccoli from China!  Livin' in Canada where we grow lots of veggies, and seeing something that was supposed to resemble broccoli - well i had to tell the grocer that I wouldn't be buying it - never saw the likes of it again.  That was kinda scary to see.  I don't know if it was supposed to be GM - didn't ask - YIKES!!

  5. Shil1978 profile image88
    Shil1978posted 14 years ago

    Personally, I am not so sure that genetically-modified food is good. I'd stick to organic any day. Even though, they claim that it is safe and stuff, but who knows right?

    Claims are made all the time, only to be countered by counter claims years down the line. What if any potential problems of genetically-modified foods show up down a generation or two?

    I am not for tinkering with nature too much and I think genetically-modifying foods is too much. Its okay as long as you genetically modify other stuff, but why food?

    Is it really so essential? Is our survival dependent on genetically modifying food?

    1. profile image49
      inkspotterposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      They claim it is safe ,but beware. Many former Monsanto employees work for or are in charge of the EPA and FDA or have gone back and forth.  I do not trust the government to tell me what food is safe and is not. Monsanto is also the creator of Agent Orange, sacharrin, and BST. Monsanto has a monopoly on the seed industry.

  6. RKHenry profile image64
    RKHenryposted 14 years ago

    Anything genetically modified, and doesn't evolve medicine is worse.  Natural is always better.

    1. profile image53
      TechNyouposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      So is mutagenesis and embryo rescue, two forms of non-GM plant breeding that have been around for decades, natural?  The progeny of such breeding require a laboratory and skilled researchers and is highly unlikely to ever occur through natural cross-breeding.
      Mutagenesis involves mutating the seeds with irradiation or a chemical mutagen to mutate the seed's DNA.
      Embryo rescue involves force crossing two closely related species that would be unable to cross in nature, but can be done in a lab, but it requires rescuing the embryo and growing it in special nutrient medium. Some of these crosses can involve species not recognised as food species that contain unknown genes.

      Many of your organic crops are bred this way?  So, what is natural and is unnatural neccessarily bad? 

      Jason Major
      <do not include any links/signatures>

  7. timorous profile image82
    timorousposted 14 years ago

    Part of the purpose for GM foods is to increase the yield, by making them more drought and pest resistant, and perhaps a faster growth cycle.  The higher productivity reduces the costs, enabling the feeding of a growing population world wide.

    However, I think this tinkering is a bit of a slippery slope.  Selective breeding has been used for centuries, giving us the foods we have today.  Depending on the method used, it could be benign (safe over a longer period), or unwittingly dangerous, especially if chemicals are used to control the result. 

    If organic, unmodified foods were more readily available, I would definitely opt for that every time.  Depending where you live and your budget, it may difficult or impossible.

    Even so, you must keep eating those veggies and fruit for your health. smile

  8. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 14 years ago

    If you would like to be a guinea pig - go ahead. Don't complain several years down the road about allergies, diabetes,

    1. psycheskinner profile image84
      psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      We already are several years down the road with most Americans eating GM food (it is not labeled as such and is in many major brands fo bread, rice etc) and no problems yet.

      1. Jeff Berndt profile image73
        Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        No problems yet? Are you sure of that? Lots of diseases are on the rise. No connection to GM foods, but not because we've checked and found none; rather, because we haven't checked.

        But yes, that genie is out of the bottle; GM pollen drift regularly contaminates fields owned by farmers who don't use GM seeds. And then Monsanto sues the farmer for 'stealing' their copyrighted genetic material.

        I strongly agree that GM food (food with any GM ingredients) should be prominently and clearly labeled as such, and that foods with no GM ingredients should be allowed to likewise be prominently and clearly labeled.

        1. psycheskinner profile image84
          psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          So you are familiar with all of the testing that has been done, such as the animal tests and the controversary surrounding them.  And you are tracking the explanations given for epidemeological rises in allergye, ADHD and autism--which are similar in counteries where GM food is eaten and where it is not?

          Or you just prefer opinion to data?

  9. TMMason profile image61
    TMMasonposted 14 years ago

    I really think it should be the individuals choice as to whether or not to consume it. All should be marked clearly.

    And go ahead.

    like Misha said.... guinea pig ho!!....

  10. profile image0
    girly_girl09posted 14 years ago

    I avoid corn like the plague, specifically high fructose corn syrup. I have been doing tons of research on this nasty food additive. (I plan on writing some hubs this summer)

    I cut that out of my diet about a month ago and have lost a few pounds without doing anything (I've been even less active than usual because of finals). My brain seems to function better, too. Oh, and I'm eating the same amount of calories that I used to eat. Coincidence? I don't think so!

    I think GM foods have the potential to be dangerous; there is such an unknown variable involved! I'm not willing to take a chance when there are readily available healthier options out there. Consumers should always have a choice!

  11. rebekahELLE profile image85
    rebekahELLEposted 14 years ago

    and chemicals are used, herbicides, pesticides. spell MONSANTO. they own the seeds and the chemicals.

    insects are becoming resistant to these chemicals as well as weeds, now there are super-weeds.  you have to 'wonder' about all of the food allergies now and the diseases. our antibiotics have become stronger because some illnesses have become resistant to them.

    here's an interesting site with even more interesting links.

    1. profile image53
      TechNyouposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Careful trying to draw a cause and effect between GM and food allergies.  eg. There is a large rise in peanut allergies. In Australia many schools are banning any student bringing food containing peanuts to school. 

      But there is no such thing as a GM peanut.  If there has been a change in the genetics of the peanut that has led to this allergy increase it has been through "natural" breeding processes.  Such things have happened before with potatoes and celery.

      Jason Major
      <do not include any links/signatures>

      1. psycheskinner profile image84
        psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        If anything the rise in allergies seem to relate to over-cleaning and disinfecting children's environments.  They need more early contact with dirt, plants and animals to prime their immune systems to function properly.

        1. timorous profile image82
          timorousposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          It seems to me people many decades ago didn't have these allergies or illnesses we see today.  But they also didn't have as many packaged foods at their disposal..they made everything fresh.  There's a lesson in there somewhere... neutral

  12. gracenotes profile image90
    gracenotesposted 14 years ago

    Definitely GMO corn is in lots of processed foods in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, as well as in other forms.

    If you have the crop space, ability and interest to do it, definitely grow your own corn.  You are being a rebel, and contributing to agriculture and your own health even in a small way.  Home-grown corn is several orders of magnitude ahead of store-bought stuff  (crossing my fingers for my brother's upcoming corn crop!).

  13. Shadesbreath profile image78
    Shadesbreathposted 14 years ago

    In an ideal world where unicorns and fairies bring prosperity to everyone, totally natural food is great.

    On a planet that has creeping up on 7 billion people and one that is fed in massive proportions by Western agricultural practices, pretending that some sort of utopian solution will work is suicide.

    People need to stop thinking food comes from the grocery store.

    "Organic food" is a preppy dream eaten by elite a-holes who have no concept what hunger is like, but who swell with rapturous self-aggrandized ecstacy as they pretend they are making a difference because they can afford to buy food that costs ten times more to produce while meeting ridiculous hippy environmental and "humanitarian" ideology. It's a joke.  Morons are being marketed to by a handful of smart farmers who have no choice but do it to stay afloat because ignorance is destroying agriculture otherwise, and who have liberal power mongers shining lights on them proclaiming them as having "the answer." They know it won't work on a large scale either.  YOU won't pay what it costs.

    We have the luxury of ideology right now.  Pre-collapse.  But it's coming.  Every new water law, every knew property rights restriction... lock-stepping our way to ruin.  Bliss and Ignorance, the Road to hell, ... good intentions... etc.

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image73
      Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      '"Organic food" is a preppy dream eaten by elite a-holes who have no concept what hunger is like, but who swell with rapturous self-aggrandized ecstacy as they pretend they are making a difference because they can afford to buy food that costs ten times more to produce while meeting ridiculous hippy environmental and "humanitarian" ideology. It's a joke.'

      The studies done that support this assertion are flawed; they take two fields that have been farmed with chemicals for a long time, and then try to grow crops on both, one with chemicals and one "organically." At the end of the growing season, of course the chemically enhanced field has a higher yield; the so-called organic one hasn't had time to recover from the chemicals yet, and the soil is pretty much dead.

      "They know [organic agriculture] won't work on a large scale either."
      Well, no, it won't, and it was never meant to. The problem is that we've turned agriculture into industry, and we've turned all our farmland into McMansion-infested subdivisions. As a result, our food all comes from much farther away, and needs to be treated as a commodity or it will spoil before it gets to us.

      The ideal solution is not centralized, industrialized, monoculture "farms" that create as much pollution as a factory, but rather distributed, diversified, agricultural farms that create practically no pollution, require no petroleum-based fertilizer, and produce food with greater nutritional value.

      "We have the luxury of ideology right now.  Pre-collapse.  But it's coming."
      Yes, a collapse is coming, but not because of the organic hippies. It'll come because our industrial farms use up a huge amount of petrochemicals every year to fertilize their nutrient-stripped soil. When we run out of those petrochemicals, we'll have to figure out how to grow food without them.

      The organic farmers already know how.

  14. rebekahELLE profile image85
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

    you're entitled to your opinion, but what you have written is silly. of course, this isn't true to label all people who eat organic food as preppy elitists... if some are, your statement here sounds just as elitist in judging them. hmm

    1. Polly C profile image90
      Polly Cposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Well I don't consider myself a preppy elitist, but I always try to buy organic, especially veg, fruit and dairy products. I don't eat meat, but if I did then that would be organic as well.

      I am by no means wealthy, but I like to live healthily (even more so since having children). I just think that avoiding chemicals as much as possible has got to be better for the body. I am no scientist, it just feels like common sense to me. But aside from all that, organic farming is so much better for the environment.  Organic farming attracts more wildlife - bees, butterflies etc.  Soil on which conventional crops are grown is not as rich in nutrients as organic soil because all the goodness has been killed off.  Therefore, the vegetables themselves are not as rich in nutrients.

      As for GM farming, I am completely opposed to it. It is meddling with nature and we have no idea of future consequences.  Is it really a way to feed the world?  I doubt it, it's all about money for the huge companies behind it.  I will never buy GM - fortunately there is not a good market for it here (in the UK) at the moment. More than 90% of the public is opposed to it.

  15. TLMinut profile image60
    TLMinutposted 13 years ago

    I'm not sure if it's due to genetic modification or pesticides from organic foods (or something else), but the list of fruits and vegetables that provoke an allergic reaction in my oldest and youngest sons has left them unable to eat a healthy diet. It's getting worse for them both all the time.

    1. Jeff Berndt profile image73
      Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      "pesticides from organic foods"
      Organic farms don't use pesticides, so that's not it.

      1. TLMinut profile image60
        TLMinutposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I guess I can't imagine using NOTHING to keep bugs and disease from crops. I know planting foods in the right way (certain plants next to others, specific flowers around the outside) lowers the incidence of problems, but I thought even organic used natural remedies. Genetically modified sounds totally different. We've still not figured out exactly what problems the boys have.

        It was an unpleasant surprise to arrive here in SC and see the fruit tree orchards destroyed to make room for housing and stores. This area had fields of crops and orchards, farmer's markets...

  16. rebekahELLE profile image85
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

    I think so Polly.

    When multinational companies such as Monsanto are in control of farms and seed and patent animals, that sounds like control to me.

    there is a lot of info out there for anyone really interested in knowing where their food comes from.

    grow your own if you can, even a few vegetables grown organically in your diet can make a difference.

  17. 2uesday profile image65
    2uesdayposted 13 years ago

    I grow my own fruit and vegetables and have never had to use sprays or chemicals. Having said that I am not yet self sufficient, and the production of food on a large scale is different as you do not have the diversity.

    I cannot understand why anyone would want an orange more orange than it naturally is and like wise a tomato redder. The taste is important and mass produced food does not taste the same as home grown.

  18. rebekahELLE profile image85
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

      because they concentrate on nourishing the organic soil compounds to make the healthiest environment for growth, the plants are healthier, stronger and more disease and pest resistant. they use various natural methods to control pests including organisms found in the soil, some 'good' insects, crop rotation, etc.

    the situation with your boys sounds truly perplexing. they can't eat healthy produce?

  19. TLMinut profile image60
    TLMinutposted 13 years ago

    My oldest son can hardly eat anything and he loves fruits and vegetables. He can't even touch an apple, he once took the tiniest taste of an avocado (I think it was) and immediately ran to the sink to try to wash out every trace - his throat swells, sometimes his lips too. He can eat bananas and he found one other fruit he can eat. Vegetables aren't as bad but he can never eat without someone around in case there's a trace of something else in it that will give him a problem.

    My youngest is developing more allergies as he gets older even though he's already fifteen. So far it isn't nearly as bad as his brother though. We've also heard my four year old grandson making those noises that seem to indicate he's starting too. Bad genes I guess, I had always hoped avoiding pesticides and other chemicals would help.

  20. Sally's Trove profile image76
    Sally's Troveposted 13 years ago

    I'm not one to promote my Hubs anywhere on HP, but you all might like to take a look at this for some facts to add to your discussion... … BT-Brinjal

    It's a complex issue. There are also links in this Hub to helpful resources here on HP and elsewhere.

    Also, do a search on HP for "GM food" to find more good info.


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