What is GMO foods?
The GMO foods stands for Genetically Modified Foods. Like humans the organisms, plants and animals have the genetic material which is nothing but the DNA.
When scientists alter the genetic material especially in plants it is called genetically modified foods or food crops. It will enhance the taste and quality of foods as well as increase the nutrients and improve the resistance against the pests and herbicides.
In some cases, it improve the yield of crops and require only less water or energy for processing. The Genetically Modified foods are especially famous in US when compare to other countries. They expanded their research in almost every area of food production which includes animals, crops and dairy products.
In future, the genetically modified foods will be produced with the aim of altering the nutrient content of food, reducing the allergic potential and improve the efficiency of food production systems.
All Genetically Modified foods are assessed before being allowed to the market. The World Health Organization(WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) coded the guidelines for risk analysis of Genetically Modified foods.
Best Genetically Modified Foods
Corn is so ubiquitous in the American diet; from corn syrup to corn starch to corn oil and just plain old corn and corn meal, the Americans ingest an enormous amount of corn every year.
The BT-corn is a form of sweet corn that has been genetically modified which include the insect killing gene. Due to that the farmer no need to spray the crops with pesticides, because the insects die from eating the corn. However, this approach caused a debate among the people.
The another aspect of corn controversy is; as I told earlier the Americans are largely used the corn in their diet; if anything goes wrong in this genetically modified corn all of them will suffer.
The Tomatoes are the first Genetically Modified Food introduced in the market. They are modified specifically to avoid the ripening very quickly. When compare with the natural tomatoes, the Genetically modified tomatoes ripe very slowly and it makes easier for the transportation to other countries.
Moreover, these genetically modified tomatoes are allowed to mature fully on the plants instead of picked them while it is in green color. This adds more taste to the tomatoes.
Along with that they are resistant to antibiotics. While we eating that tomato related foods it might be passed on to the human body and making us more resistant to antibiotics and in turn less capable of fighting the infectious diseases.
The best examples for GM tomatoes are: Flavr Savr Tomato and Lematos.
Flavr Savr Tomato:
It was first produced by the Californian company Calgene and submitted to the FDA in 1992. The FDA approved this for human consumption. But mounting this plant costs more and it makes the manufacturer unprofitable.
Due to that the production was banned in the year 1997. But this Flavr Savr Tomato opened the doors for other Genetically Modified foods.
The gene taken from the lemon was inserted into the tomato and it was called as lemato. The gene was named as ocimum basilicum geraniol synthase which is responsible for the taste and smell of lemon.
The lemato was slightly red and has a mild, fruity smell. It has a longer shelf life than tomatoes and is more resistant to pests. But this lemato was not planned for production. The scientists just want to know, whether it is possible to change the aroma of a fruit or vegetable to make it more appealing.
3. Golden Rice:
It is a new type of rice and is unique because, it contains beta carotene a source of vitamin A and is also responsible for giving golden color. The genetically modified golden rice was produced to fight against the Vitamin A deficiency. Around 250 million people in the world are affected by Vitamin A deficiency and cause blindness.
Half of the people in the world’s population are using rice. So, scientists decided that to meet the Vitamin A deficiency the rice is a good source and ultimately they produced the golden rice. It gets this name because, it has a golden glow color.
Also Read: Avoid 6 Unhealthy Foods To Prevent Cancer.
The Golden rice was developed using the genetic modification techniques with the genes from the maize and a common soil microorganism that together produce the beta carotene in the rice grain.
Scientists now working on another Genetically Modified rice. This new variety would have an iron gene; the iron deficiency is responsible for anemia and low-birth weight babies both of which can be fatal.
Like the corn, the Soyabean was also widely used in U.S for the production of other items like baked products, cereal, chocolate and ice cream. In 2007, more than half of the world’s soyabean was made up of genetically modified strains.
They are modified to increase the resistance to insects and fungus and also to enhance the fat, proteins and vitamins content so then it can be used for animal feed.
Since Soy is one of the heavily modified crops, chances are in the United States that if the label says you are eating soy, you are eating genetically modified material. However, the tofu and soy sauce are usually made from the non-genetically modified soyabeans.
The oil is not only needed for cooking and flavoring the fresh foods; but it is the major ingredients for most of the pre-packaged foods. The China, India and US are the major producer of Genetically modified cottonseed oil. As a result, it is hard to avoid the Genetically modified food, even though you did not put them in the bottle.
In the United States,the genetically modified oils are sold as the cooking oils and also used for frying the snacks such as potato chips, banana chips etc.
Among the other oils, the Canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) is one of the most heavily modified genetic crops. They are modified to increase the resistant of herbicides.
One of the interesting fact of genetically modified Canola oil is; it produces one of the main pollens used to make the honey. Scientists in the Germany found that, one-third of the pollen in Canadian honey came from the Genetically Modified rapeseed, which means any honey coming out from the Canada (unless labeled) is coming from genetically modified crop.
Even though the cotton is not a food; it is a ubiquitous crop which is worth mentioning here. Among other countries, the China is the largest producer of cotton; for past 15 years it has genetically modified its cotton to help combat the effects of the bollworm.
The boll is the protective shell that the soft cotton ball grows inside of, and it is risk because of the bollworm’s persistence. Studies reveal that the genetically modified cotton crops has a minimal amount of bollworm infestation when compare to the non-genetic cotton crop. The yield of the genetically modified cotton was increased than ever before.
These are the six major genetically modified products, but several others are also existed. In no particular order some of them include:
- Animal feed,
- Seedless watermelon