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Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Feb 2018 | 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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How I see it, a GMO's a GMO. You can avoid them and that's up to you. As for the stuff about politics, it's completely uncalled for. Hate me if you want to, but people who are feminist or christian or LGBT aren't bad, but also have nothing to do with GMOs . Those people are just different, and that's what many Americans are afraid of : being different. And say what you want to : I'm pansexual. But it doesn't mean I'm not a person .
AS - 14-Feb-18 @ 4:50 PM
Gmo's are interuupting the spirtual world and disrupting the connection between true Pagans and the god and goddess. My powers and magic are weakening since i have begun eating genetically modified foods. I now have to harness even more power from the moon to charge my crystals for my rituals. Wicca society is now being threatened by these gmos and I must warn you all, us Wiccans will not remain silent. We will rise above you all.
amethystmoon - 30-Oct-17 @ 12:33 AM
I have an assignment and this is the article I chose to review it's credibility. Would you mind linking me the sources of where you found these facts. I would need them as soon as possible please?!
A-Nickey - 28-Aug-17 @ 3:37 AM
Do you believe that we could further develop GMO technology and if so, how
Dr Robotnic - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:58 AM
(I think religion should be put out of this issue, seeing it's a sensitive topic)
alley43217 - 22-May-17 @ 3:20 PM
If god is real then he would accept all his children. Including the lizard people and the angry demimgod Xenu. And I think he would love his GMOs as well because there are loads of trans and gay people who want to be something they aren't. So why not let the GMOs free and let them be what they choose
capitalistic bastard - 27-Apr-17 @ 1:25 PM
Okay seriously calm down for one we don't know if god is real or notbecause we don't have solid proof except for "man's" word and we hate Muslims but Arabic and Muslims wrote the bible and two gay is not a sin if god is real then we know he would love all his children for who they are. Drop the mic P.S I'm a 13 year old and i outsmarted all of you.
dunno - 25-Apr-17 @ 1:27 PM
i think that they can help alot.
dragonhunter - 24-Apr-17 @ 7:32 PM
Why is everyone ignoring the fact that regarldess of the GMOs There are alien lizards ruling our governmentthey are the only god in this universe BOW DOWN TO YOUR KINGS They are YOUR GOD NOW HAil to the lizoid king
Communist66642069 - 4-Apr-17 @ 2:54 PM
Attention. I have made another mistake. I assure that this will not happen again, and I thank you for your understanding. The previous username was intended to be 'feministchristian222 IS WRONG' yet this was not accepeted and I was not informed, meaning that the username appeared as 'feministchristian222'. I hope you can find it deep within your heart to forgive me. Yours sincerely, fc222 IS WRONG
fc222 IS WRONG - 31-Mar-17 @ 9:22 AM
this is a very cool they i love it its amazing
poopy - 30-Mar-17 @ 6:18 PM
This is the nickname I meant to set in my previous statement. I apear to have made a mistake, which will not happen again
feministchristian222 - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:35 PM
In this essay, I aim to explain why feministchristian222 has lied to you all. My first point is that God is decisively not real. After spending my spare time at Cambridge disproving the bible, I have conclusive evidence to say that god is not real. This therefore, through logic, means Christians aren’t real. Do not believe feministchristian222 as she is purely a figment of your imagination, not real in the slightest. I am deadly serious. Just try to stop thinking about her and it will all go away. Secondly feminism is stupid as it is obvious to me that men are clearly superior to women. This argument means you are not worth listening to even if you are right. In conclusion, I feel that you are wrong, and I, as always, am right.
feministchristian222 - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:31 PM
I agree with feminist christian. My son is now gay.
Heavenlord666 - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:31 PM
gm crops are against the bibles rules. we should never mess with the eternal one's plan for us. if he says that normal rice should make people blind, they were meant to be blind. these chemicals in the crops are turning our children gay and making them sin. i eat food we christians were sposed to eat, given by god, fresh and tastie. i believe gm crops are the start of the rapture and satans way of tempting us folk. i read a tumblr post that said gm crops are scientifical experiments gone wrong and that sterring clear of them is the only way to get to heaven. i hope yall agree.
feministchristian222 - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:18 PM
How do you know how it will react with different bodies eating food that is genetically modified.My thoughts are that it creates more product which in turn creates more money so let's push it to whoever will accept it and doesn't know any better. My question is--- how will it affect humans in the long run, or is it affecting them already but we are not told of the results because the bottom line might be in jeopardy.!!!!
Jenna - 28-Mar-17 @ 3:26 AM
I think this may be harmful because it may be too early for us to know the long-term effects which may be bad
John Johnson - 27-Mar-17 @ 3:51 AM
this site is freakin dumb bubs i only eat the best gosh dang veggies around town
clyde - 9-Mar-17 @ 3:18 PM
Ultimately, my head is about to pop off of my body because I'm in crazy land right now. If I don't calm myself down soon, some naughty words are going to start flying out of my mouth. Cayden McCarville
Diabeto - 1-Mar-17 @ 7:07 PM
potatos are potatos and thats that
sesameseed24 - 10-Feb-17 @ 7:18 PM
this stuff here is problem good for you dying pet or something but i think that GMOs have made my 29-year-old son have breast because he's not really fat but he has big boobs even bigger than my little girland hers are huge
floppy - 10-Feb-17 @ 7:08 PM
K for Kindness is too!!!!!!!!!!!!
A for Awesome - 7-Dec-16 @ 9:24 PM
GMOs are the best things since sliced bread
super sanin - 7-Dec-16 @ 6:05 PM
well I believe that no matter what we say or do the government is still going to create and keep producing GMO'sbecause they believe that by doing that we will have a better world
FcRevolution - 1-Dec-16 @ 6:28 PM
Jesse St. James - Your Question:
THis site helped me! More detail would be good though.

Our Response:
You can access the rest of the pages across the site (listed in the left-hand topic column), which will give you more detail and information.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 17-Nov-16 @ 2:29 PM
THis site helped me! More detail would be good though...
Jesse St. James - 15-Nov-16 @ 8:08 PM
hey farmer joe do you mean to type GMOs
superman - 26-Oct-16 @ 3:08 AM
i think the square root of 14 is 192.12312 becuase of the quadalateral of 3 is 91.154 so that rounds up to being 192.12312
yeahhhhhhhhhhh buddy - 24-Oct-16 @ 5:18 PM
Fearful of our child- Genetically engineered food has been around since 7,800 BCE. The fruits and vegetables that you ate when you were a kid, probably were genetically engineered. But when you were a kid many didn't care about genetically engineered foods. "Issues" arising from genetically engineered food started in the 1980s, partially from people being uneducated about what genetically engineered food is. Children maturing at a younger age isn't from the genetically modified food they eat, but from the genes that are pasted on. Evolution of the human population is bound to happen. That is just an example how. If golden rice didn't exist many women, men, and children would be blind and/or be extremely malnourished in developing countries. The golden rice will could reduce blindness (500,000 children per year) and deaths (2-3 million per year) from malnutrition.I understand that you don't support GMOs. But why would you not use science to help those who need it. I think that is "crap". I understand that you are unsure about GMOs. But please remember the good that they are capable of. With our population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 we need to start look at ways to feed that many people. Farm land is decreasing, farmers age is increasing, and people are currently going hungry/ being malnourished and our population is 6 billion.
Just a friendly remi - 26-Sep-16 @ 10:28 AM
I honestly think that in today's day and age there is so much garbage poisoning this world already, why do they have to create more. When I was a kid we lived of off delisous fruits and veggies,that my mom didn't have to worry about it possibly causing us allergies or our breasts to grow before we were 10 yrs old. This crap needs to stop. And of course it won't. So the least that could happen is cheaper organic foods
Fearful of our child - 17-Sep-16 @ 7:46 AM
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    I have an assignment and this is the article I chose to review it's credibility. Would you mind linking me the sources of where you…
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    (I think religion should be put out of this issue, seeing it's a sensitive topic)
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