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Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 1 Feb 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Gm Foods Benefits Disadvantages Food

With all of the controversy around genetically modified (GM) foods, sorting through huge volumes of information can seem like a daunting task. Many members of the public are asking questions about GM foods and they are also raising concerns about the effects these foods may have on their health or the environment. There are different advantages and disadvantages of GM foods, although to what extent they can help or harm humans and the environment is a debatable aspect of this technology.

Benefits Of GM Foods

A proposed benefit of GM foods is that they can potentially produce higher crop yields, which could help by feeding more people in developing countries. They are also cited as more economical, despite the initial higher cost of the seeds. The rationale is that they reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides as well as reducing the manpower needed to successfully grow the crops, which should translate into improved financial gains.

Improved food quality is another benefit associated with GM foods. A tomato, for instance, can be engineered to stay fresher for longer, thereby extending its shelf life in the supermarket.

Yet another benefit that is believed to occur from GM technology is that crops can be engineered to withstand weather fluctuations and extremes. This means that they can provide sufficient yields and quality despite a severe, poor weather season.

Another benefit is that GM foods can be engineered to have a high content of a specific nutrient that is lacking in the diet of a local population group. The vitamin A rich 'golden rice' is one example of a GM food that has been engineered to have high levels of a nutrient.

Issues With GM Foods

A worrisome issue in GM foods is the ability of a food to trigger an allergy in humans. Some of the genes used in GM technology might be taken from a food that causes allergies in some people. Inserting that gene into another organism could cause the host organism to express that allergen as a trait. Alternately, a new allergen could be produced when genes are mixed across different species.

Another potential downside to GM technology is that other organisms in the ecosystem could be harmed, which would lead to a lower level of biodiversity. By removing one pest that harms the crop, you could be removing a food source for an animal. Also, GM crops could prove toxic to an organism in the environment, leading to reduced numbers or extinction of that organism.

Given that some GM foods are modified using bacteria and viruses, there is a fear that we will see the emergence of new diseases. The threat to human health is a worrisome aspect of GM technology and one that has received a great deal of debate.

Using The Fact Sheet To Make An Informed Choice

There are many other potential benefits and risks to GM foods, which you will likely learn about as you investigate the topic further and decide whether or not you want to support or avoid GM foods and related technology.

Reading a brief fact sheet is a good way to familiarise yourself with the purported benefits and issues related to GM foods. In this way, you can equip yourself with an overview of the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about GM foods and how they will affect your life.

What Next?

Find out more about GM foods by reading our articles about the Development and History of GM Foods and also find out the Types of Techniques Used to Genetically Modify Food.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
What are your qualifications in this area? How can I trust what you say?
J - 27-Jan-16 @ 12:14 AM
Why is it that the title of the article is "FACT SHEET"?
monique - 16-Jan-16 @ 1:18 PM
that was lawson and this is not true^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
the real tyke - 8-Jan-16 @ 3:32 PM
Do you have an organization that sponsors your site? Thank you!
umm - 5-Jan-16 @ 4:04 PM
I never known about GMOs, now I know! See you guys all in concert! Love, Taylor
taylor.swift - 22-Dec-15 @ 10:06 PM
The Thorn - Your Question:
This website is really useful. I would like to know if there are any more that people would recommend to me for use.

Our Response:
It depends what you wish to know, we have a few pages on the subject which can be found listed in the sidebar.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 9-Dec-15 @ 2:31 PM
This website is really useful. I would like to know if there are any more that people would recommend to me for use.
The Thorn - 8-Dec-15 @ 7:35 PM
PLZ READ - Your Question:
How do I cite the information on the page. Could you provide a copy paste bibliography. I am doing a project on this.

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is written by a journalist and we cannot provide a bibliography.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 17-Nov-15 @ 12:39 PM
How do I cite the information on the page. Could you provide a copy paste bibliography. I am doing a project on this.
PLZ READ - 16-Nov-15 @ 6:55 PM
Thanks for the information, am writing a test and exam on food biotechnology this month. Nom I can discuss the importance, pros and cons of GM foods. Gotta search for the EU legislation on GM foods now.
Nombuso - 13-Nov-15 @ 9:08 PM
Ashton Irwin - Your Question:
Been on the internet for four hours now and this is where I have ended up. Actually really interesting and feel much more educated on the world. Shall be sharing this with my bandmates, whether they like it or not. GM foods are our future.People need to know the truth about these things.

Our Response:
We're glad you found the article interesting.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 2-Nov-15 @ 1:59 PM
Been on the internet for four hours now and this is where I have ended up. Actually really interesting and feel much more educated on the world. Shall be sharing this with my bandmates, whether they like it or not. GM foods are our future. People need to know the truth about these things.
Ashton Irwin - 1-Nov-15 @ 3:34 PM
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batman - 16-Oct-15 @ 6:01 PM
goats goats these are baby goats give them some food cause they like genetically modified grains and oats
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flowery flower the r - 16-Oct-15 @ 5:56 PM
ur right the titles are nice!!!!!!!!!
The Titles Are Nice? - 16-Oct-15 @ 5:55 PM
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Tittysprinkles - 16-Oct-15 @ 12:45 AM
I feel alive now that i am fully educated in gmo and other problems in our world today
hey - 14-Oct-15 @ 7:30 PM
hey this is a great site to learn about gmo its gr8
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lebron - 14-Oct-15 @ 7:16 PM
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Deez Nuts - 14-Oct-15 @ 7:11 PM
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Deez Nuts - 14-Oct-15 @ 7:00 PM
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Chamiela - 22-Sep-15 @ 3:35 PM
They look pretty, keep their color for a month, make your nose glow in the dark and taste like cardboard.
GMOPONENT - 2-Aug-15 @ 11:32 PM
Has anybody noticed that all the PROS. are concrete FACTS and all the CONS. Are just worries and possibilities!
really - 10-Jul-15 @ 2:11 PM
anybody else know some pros and cons on GMO's? I could really use some more than what was stated
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The Fun FUNG - 18-Jun-15 @ 12:10 AM
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Latest Comments
  • monique
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Why is it that the title of the article is "FACT SHEET"?
    16 January 2016
  • the real tyke
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    that was lawson and this is not true^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    8 January 2016
  • umm
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Do you have an organization that sponsors your site? Thank you!
    5 January 2016
  • taylor.swift
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I never known about GMOs, now I know! See you guys all in concert! Love, Taylor
    22 December 2015
  • GeneticallyModifiedFoods
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    The Thorn - Your Question:This website is really useful. I would like to know if there are any more that people would recommend to me…
    9 December 2015
  • The Thorn
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    This website is really useful. I would like to know if there are any more that people would recommend to me for use.
    8 December 2015
  • Alok
    Re: Quiz Yourself on GM Foods
    Transgenic impact on biodiversity
    23 November 2015
  • GeneticallyModifiedFoods
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    PLZ READ - Your Question:How do I cite the information on the page. Could you provide a copy paste bibliography. I am doing a project…
    17 November 2015
  • PLZ READ
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    How do I cite the information on the page. Could you provide a copy paste bibliography. I am doing a project on this.
    16 November 2015
  • Nombuso
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Thanks for the information, am writing a test and exam on food biotechnology this month. Nom I can discuss the importance, pros and…
    13 November 2015
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