From the land of Science Fiction to your plate
Term “GMOs” stands for “genetically modified organisms” and refers to living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Simply put, GMOs do not exist in nature, and are alien to our biodiversity.
Genetic Engineering, or GE, is a fairly new and highly controversial science. Creating artificial
combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur naturally is largely
considered to be experimental, especially when compared to the history of natural evolution and cross-breeding. First delayed-ripening GMO tomato featuring no added nutritional benefits but longer shelf life, was approved by FDA for sale in stores in 1994. Until today there has been no independant, long-term studies conducted on humans proving GMOs safety. While the lifespan of the use for human consumption belived by many experts to be unsufficiently long to determine possible affects on human health and environment, industry specialists in many countries perceive consumption of GMO foods as a very dangerous affair.
Who is in charge of GMOs safety?
The U.S. government has assumed GMOs safety based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and patented them. In the meantime, in over 65 countries, including countires such as Japan, Russia, Australia, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are serious restrictions or bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In turn, the U.S. approach to regulating GMOs is premised on the assumption that regulation should focus on the nature of the products, rather than the process in which they were produced. The United States does not have any federal legislation that is specific to GMOs. More precisely, GMOs are regulated pursuant to health, safety, and environmental legislation governing conventional products.
The Test of Time
Natural plant and crop cross-breeding is nearly as ancient as human civilization. Historically we have been altering the genetics of plants for millennia to achieve a stronger, more nutriotious, better tasting and longer lasting result. Naturally, the techniques were borrowed from the process of evolution itself: keeping seeds from the best crops and planting them, as well as breeding and cross-breeding the existing varieties. GM foods didn’t arrive to the american consumers plates until the mid 90s.
Great expectations of superior nutrition Unlike our ancestors, current industry-leading biotech companies are mainly focused on producing organisms capable fighting off unwelcome factors such as bugs and improving the shelf life. Genetically Modified corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. GMO Corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Insecticide.
Chained to GMOs
It is more than likely that you are unwittingly eating GMO on a regular basis, because GMOs and its derivates are used by almost every fast food and supermarket chain out there. Over a half of supermarket’s bestsellers, such as chips, pizza, corn, canola, cookies, zukkini, papaya, milk, ice creams, cooking oils, margarines, salad dressing just to name a few, have been genetically altered. Although you might not realize it, you could have been eating genetically engineered foods for over a decade now.
What are the consumer’s benefits from GMO?
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite initial biotech industry predictions, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.