Picture this. You’re walking through the fruits and vegetables aisle at your local grocery store and you decide to buy strawberries. So you pick up a box filled with juicy strawberries, but you then notice that the box has a sticker on it saying “GMO”. Would you still buy it?
The “GMO” on the sticker stands for “Genetically Modified Organism”, or, a genetically modified food in this case. These are food types that don’t exist in nature, but are rather engineered so as to choose the most desirable traits of the particular category, and grow them artificially.
To put this process in simple words, it is similar to Darwin’s theory of “selective breeding” or “artificial selection”. The organisms with the most desired characteristics are chosen and combined, in order to obtain similar features in the offspring. Nowadays, this practice is often followed in the food industry to produce the best and healthiest crops.
One such success story of GMOs took place in the year 2000. A type of rice called “Golden rice” was developed, with the intention to battle vitamin A deficiency, which is estimated to kill over five lakh people every year.
However, genetically modified foods are quite a controversial topic today. Even though there may be trust in the science of the way the process works, people are not willing to trust the companies and establishments that control our food supply; and rightfully so.
It is a common practice of large corporations to play on the ignorance of the average person when it comes to topics like these. Much of the criticism towards GMOs today, is mostly criticism towards the large corporations that control the distribution of food rather than the GMO product itself.
Like everything present in this world, GMOs also have advantageous and disadvantageous sides. Of course, there’s the advantage that healthier crops with high yields can be produced. But at the same time, it is not uncommon for the consumption of GMO products to cause various allergic reactions in people’s bodies. Adding to the previous point is the fact that new combinations of foods could create new allergies and diseases at any time.
With that being said, it is important to know about your individual body requirements and do the required amount of research so that you can make an informed choice at the grocery store next time, rather than believe misconceptions that you’ve heard. Thus, let us make an educated choice.