by Christina Snider – Staff Writer
Just like humans, every organism is composed of genetic materials. If scientists step in and begin to modify the DNA, it is referred to as genetic modification. While genetic modification can enhance the quality and taste of foods, improve their resistance to disease and pests and increase the overall nutrients, that doesn’t mean it is always in our best interest. Many will argue that genetically modified foods are better for us in that they conserve the natural resources in the world around us.
Back in 1994, the Flavr Savr tomato gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration after being tested and assessed. Due to all of the mounting costs, the crop became unprofitable and production stopped in 1997. Because of the Flavr Savr being created in the first place, it opened up the doors for a number of other genetically modified foods to don our kitchens.
Just about every area of food production has been affected by genetic modification. Imagine this: the farmer goes out and feeds the cattle a diet consisting of nothing but genetically modified foods. In turn, all of that is passed on to you whenever you eat beef or drink milk. How many times have you ever thought about what you are putting on the table for your family? Unfortunately, most of us don’t. Either from not being aware of it, or not caring. Check out the top three genetically modified foods below:
In 1991, scientists were challenged by the World Health Organization to create vaccines that everyone would have access to. Children who lived in impoverished areas wouldn’t have to wait for hours to get the shot they needed. A series of genes were injected into potatoes to create a vaccine for cholera. The genes in this potato prompt the natural immune system to make its own antibodies to cholera. Even though these potatoes haven’t entered the market yet, scientists are looking at how to distribute and market them to the general public.
Bt-corn is a type of sweet corn that has been modified to include a gene that kills insects. There is no need for the farmer to go out and spray their crops with pesticides because the insects are going to die just from eating the corn. Unfortunately, this same gene that attacks all of the predators trying to eat the corn will also kill the beautiful Monarch butterfly.
Based on information from the USDA, there are farmers everywhere who are growing corn that is genetically modified at some point in time. In South Dakota, almost half of all crops are genetically modified. Due to all of the corn crops here in the US, these issues extend beyond just our borders. They affect people around the world.
Even though the tomato was the first of all foods to be genetically modified on the market, they continue to be altered to extend their lifespan. Genetically modified tomatoes aren’t going to rot away as quickly as their regular counterparts, which allows them to be transported further. Originally, these tomatoes didn’t tolerate antibiotics. Many people were concerned about this in that the genes would be passed to those who consumed the food. Humans would end up being resistant to antibiotics, thus, being unable to fight off a number of diseases. They claim that the new forms of these tomatoes don’t have the genes, but can you really trust them?
To help protect yourself, think twice about the foods you are putting in your mouth. Unless you are purchasing foods that specifically say they are organic or no hormones added, you cannot guarantee that you aren’t harming yourself with the foods you eat. Your health is at stake. Take charge of it today by standing against genetically modified foods.