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Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 21 Jun 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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[Add a Comment]
Charles xzayviar - Your Question:
I reckon it's best to just continue the way we live

Our Response:
Many thanks for your comment.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 8-Jun-16 @ 2:50 PM
I reckon it's best to just continue the way we live
Charles xzayviar - 7-Jun-16 @ 11:23 PM
I worry about any information on the labeling of a box that is in very small print.On a box of "cereal", in very small print at the bottom, it said, "partially produced with genetic engineering".Mmmmm.....what exactly does that mean?Anyone?
CWC - 21-May-16 @ 1:33 PM
WaldundWiesen - Your Question:
Thank you for this good article. I'm searching for information for my oral examination and it was realy helpful.Before I was only against GM food, but now I started to think more about the advantages.

Our Response:
We are glad the site has been able to educate you about GM foods.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 11-May-16 @ 12:55 PM
Thank you for this good article. I'm searching for information for my oral examination and it was realy helpful. Before I was only against GM food, but now I started to think more about the advantages.
WaldundWiesen - 10-May-16 @ 4:02 PM
why do these comments make no sense?!
audzz - 9-May-16 @ 3:23 PM
lol im just here for lolz and stuff, gmos are good and bad but i think there are more cons and stuff, cya guys later ad=nd stuff dudes aight, cya good night
sdfhhsgh - 28-Apr-16 @ 8:36 PM
howdy partners its farmer joe here y'all gm crops are bad news y'all hear? stay safe y'all eat good crops stay nice nd helfy
Farmer Joseph Jr. - 28-Apr-16 @ 7:01 PM
I would also like to use this website for my research paper. I have found it very helpful, but I am confused about one thing. In your 2013 article "pros and cons of genetically modified foods", one of the cons was that there is no economic value in genetically modified foods. In this article it is stated that there is economic value. What has changed this statement from three years ago?
ktwin - 27-Apr-16 @ 9:04 PM
GROCERY STORES FEAR HIM thats the only ad that pops up on this website
woo hoo 10 10 - 22-Apr-16 @ 10:14 PM
Hello, I noticed a comment by PLZ READ asking about how to cite this page and I have a similar question. I am planning to reference this site for a Science project I am working on for school but my teacher wants me to use three non-website sources. However, sources that were not originally published on the web but can be found there count as these "non-website sources". Therefore, I would like to know what type of source this counts as and if you would provide the information, it wouldbe very useful. Furthermore, I'm afraid I am unable to properly understand the writer's name that has been provided on the site. The site says "By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc" but I have no idea what I should put for the citation. I hope you would be able to reply as soon as possible. Thank you very much for your time.
Ren - 9-Apr-16 @ 2:14 PM
I think gmo are good for you just like apples and other fruits. It helps me get sooooo fast and run 5 400m. I'm really bad at math though so maybe gmo do have some side effects.
DLewis6969 - 22-Mar-16 @ 11:58 AM
Nic-nak - Your Question:
Im doing research at school and this has really helped me

Our Response:
We are glad this page has helped you.
GeneticallyModifiedFoods - 17-Mar-16 @ 10:47 AM
do you do any other stuff like this?
Nic-nak - 16-Mar-16 @ 11:43 AM
im doing research at school and this has really helped me
Nic-nak - 16-Mar-16 @ 11:39 AM
I don't see any pros and cons about genetic modified organism/food where are they
sarahfina - 7-Mar-16 @ 5:52 PM
This website is great for science projects (exspessaly the ones about science)
TheToasterKing - 23-Feb-16 @ 7:01 PM
hey again I am doing a letter to a official such as Donald trump and am wondering how bad genetically modified foods are because it doesn't seem like there is any health benefits or anything that concerns death
brocrasinator - 18-Feb-16 @ 5:08 PM
I don't really see what's wrong with gmf's I don't think it really matters
brocrasinator - 18-Feb-16 @ 5:03 PM
howdy partners its farmer joe here y'all gm crops are bad news y'all hear? stay safe y'all eat good crops stay nice nd helfy
Farmer.Joe - 9-Feb-16 @ 12:02 PM
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
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Latest Comments
  • GeneticallyModifiedFoods
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Charles xzayviar - Your Question:I reckon it's best to just continue the way we liveOur Response:
    8 June 2016
  • Charles xzayviar
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I reckon it's best to just continue the way we live
    7 June 2016
  • CWC
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I worry about any information on the labeling of a box that is in very small print. On a box of "cereal", in very small print at the…
    21 May 2016
  • GeneticallyModifiedFoods
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    WaldundWiesen - Your Question:Thank you for this good article. I'm searching for information for my oral examination and it was realy…
    11 May 2016
  • WaldundWiesen
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Thank you for this good article. I'm searching for information for my oral examination and it was realy helpful. Before I was only…
    10 May 2016
  • audzz
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    why do these comments make no sense?!
    9 May 2016
  • sdfhhsgh
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    lol im just here for lolz and stuff, gmos are good and bad but i think there are more cons and stuff, cya guys later ad=nd stuff dudes…
    28 April 2016
  • Farmer Joseph Jr.
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    howdy partners its farmer joe here y'all gm crops are bad news y'all hear? stay safe y'all eat good crops stay nice nd helfy
    28 April 2016
  • ktwin
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I would also like to use this website for my research paper. I have found it very helpful, but I am confused about one thing. In your…
    27 April 2016
  • woo hoo 10 10
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    GROCERY STORES FEAR HIM thats the only ad that pops up on this website
    22 April 2016
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