To be honest, I don’t have any knowledge about GMOs. I’ve always heard it thrown around as a “fear” word, but never really understood what GMOs entailed. So, I decided to learn just exactly what they are. First of all the acronym for GMO really stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This means that GMOs are specifically plants or crops as I originally thought. Plants and animals can both be classified as GMOs. They are modified with bacteria or viruses in order to change something about them to make them “hardier”. Usually they are breed for drought tolerance, increased nutrition, or some other increased yield. That sounds pretty cool on paper, but when you think about eating virus induced food, it kind of makes your stomach churn. Are these things safe for human consumption?
A lot of industrialized countries say no. Many countries in Europe, Australia, and Japan have restrictions or outright bans on GMOs. But, in the United States, the government has decided to approve them. Based on specific studies, America says that GMOs pros outweigh the risks. Since GMOs have been introduced, they have lowered the price of food. It has raised the output of corn, cotton, and soy overall by about 20%. With our population growing drastically, and expected to reach 9 billion is just a few decades, this could be a good thing. There is a lot of public outcry against GMOs and maybe for good reason. They aren’t labeled and as much as 80% of our processed food contains them. There is little to almost no education about these crops. Many people, including myself, don’t even know what a GMO is and let alone what foods are affected. At this point however, there seems to be no significant risk on actually ingesting GMs. Humans in America have been eating GMs for almost half a century, and there are no documented illnesses from eating these crops SO FAR. Right now, GMOs pose only a significant risk to our agriculture business. Their reduced risk to herbicides and pesticides means that chemical herbicide use has risen to try to destroy weeds and bugs that can plague crops. This has led to the development of “super bugs” and “super weeds” that need even stronger chemicals to kill them off. This seems like a huge problem and one that can only get worse as the chemical agriculture business continues to grow.
The only thing I really know after researching GMOs is that I still don’t really understand what they are. I understand the base concept of them and I understand how they are made now, but I still don’t think I can make an informed decision on if this is what can save our agriculture business or kill it off. I think only time can tell.