If you are anybody who is anybody, you have probably heard a thing or two about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is also pretty likely that you have some reservations when it comes to GMOs.
There is a lot of negativity and fear associated with genetic engineering and it is hard for me to understand why. Folks want the best of the best these days, right? Nobody wants a 20” television from 1999; they want the latest and greatest flat screen. A flip phone? Forget about it, I want the Iphone 6. When it comes to medical care, you aren’t planning on biting a leather strap as you give birth on a straw-filled mattress, are you? No, you want the best medical care you can get. You want proven science. You want the latest technology.
So, when it comes to how your food is produced, you would want the same right? You want your food to come from farmers who care for you, the land and the environment the best that they can. You want your farmers to have access to the best technology possible in order to produce the best food possible. And, you want this technology to be heavily studied and researched before it hits your dinner table.
Here is the good news, you already have this. Farmers already have this. It is here and it is called a Genetically Modified Organism. Whaaaaat? So, why is everyone freaking out? What is the deal?
If you ask me, it is fear of the unknown. Today’s consumers are so far removed from the farm that there is a lot they don’t see or understand. So, let’s talk about it. Let’s get the dirt on GMOs and get rid of that fear!
First, lets quickly talk about what a GMO is. The purpose of genetic engineering is to insert a gene or genes from a donor organism carrying a desired trait into an organism that does not have the trait. It is that simple, take the good from one organism and insert it into another and create an organism of greater quality. It is too bad we cannot do this with men. 😉
A majority of these GMO products have been produced to help farmers with age-old problems such as, drought, insects, weeds and disease. GMO varieties are able to withstand pests and weeds, therefore allowing farmers to use pesticides and herbicides sparingly, if at all. There are varieties that are more resistant to disease, allowing farmers to yield a better crop. There are even GMO products that can tolerate and prosper in dry soils that would otherwise not support growth.
Pretty cool stuff.
Here are ten MORE things you probably didn’t know about GMOs.
- There are currently 9 GMO seeds available in the United States: alfalfa, canola, corn (field and sweet), cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets.
- Genetically modified apples have been approved and will be on the market soon. And if you have ever had to throw away sliced apples because your kid didn’t eat them fast enough and they turned brown and “yucky”, you will be ecstatic to have this GMO apple!
- GMO foods have a long, safe track record (17+ years in the marketplace). Most people don’t even realize they have been eating GMO foods since the mid-1990s. Since their introduction in 1996 until now, foods derived from GMO products have been deemed safe and nutritious
- Currently, three major agencies regulate genetically modified crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- As of 2015, GMOs are grown, imported and/or used in more than 70 countries.
- On average, it takes 13 years and $130 million dollars of research before a GMO can come onto the market and is deemed safe to grow and safe to eat.
- GMOs saved the Hawaiian papaya. That’s right, saved it! As in, it had Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV), was on its death-bed and on its way out of this world. Adios, Papaya-Mango margaritas! Thankfully, scientists were able to develop a breed of papaya that was resistant to this disease, ultimately saving the fruit and a large portion of Hawaii’s papaya industry.
- In the several years that farmers have grown crops from GMO seeds, there has not been one, single, documented harm to human health. Food from GMOs is digested in the body the same as food from non-GMO products. Hundreds of studies continue to prove that GMOs present no health risk.
- Thanks to GMOs, pesticide use has been reduced by 1.2 billion pounds since 1996. This has saved farmers, like me, time and money while reducing their carbon foot print. I think this is something we can all get down with.
- Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been altered by human hands. For years, farmers have been keeping seeds from the best crops and planting them in following years, breeding and crossbreeding varieties to make them taste sweeter, grow bigger, last longer.
So, there you have it; ten things you probably didn’t know about GMOs. Not so bad after all, right? In fact, I think we can say that we NEED GMOs. As we look into the future and our growing population, genetic engineering is going to play a vital role in our food supply. Estimates indicate the world’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050, including middle class growth of 3 billion. Not only will GMO seeds increase yields needed to feed this growing population, but they will offer the poor and middle class a safe and affordable option to feed their family.
Activists would like you to believe that those using genetic engineering are giant, money-hungry corporations, but many of today’s farmers grow GMOs and feed them to their own families. (And they don’t wear hazmat suits!) They are farm families that have been working and sustaining the same ground for generations. Families that drink the same water as you, breathe the same air as you, and play in the same dirt as you.
They are mothers, fathers, friends, sisters and brothers who work hard every day to ensure that you have a safe, nutritious meal to put on your table.
Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by GMO Answers via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of GMO Answers or Momtrends.