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5 Facts About GMO Food Products

Genetic engineering has always been surrounded with a lot of controversies as well as misconceptions regarding its methods as well as the products generated due to its development. The organisms that arise due to the process of genetic engineering are called GMOs. There are a lot of questions arising among the general public related to the GMO products. What to prefer a GMO or a non GMO product? Are they safe to use? There are certain set of beliefs regarding GMO products out of which some are total misconceptions whereas some are true to some extent. The following are the facts of GMO foods:

1. Food crops do not lose nutrients after genetic engineering 

Nutrients are one of the most significant factor that decides the quality of a particular crop. The nutrients play a vital role in the human body whose deficiency in one's diet can cause various health related problems. The main purpose of food in human body is to supply nutrients and therefore it is one of the main aspects of a food crop.

Many people tend to think that the natural nutrient of a particular crop is lost if it is genetically modified. However, biotechnology has always tried to fortify a given crop by using various methodologies related to genetic engineering.  The most common example of a crop which has been fortified using genetic engineering technique is golden rice which has been made rich in vitamin A. There is a possibility of this when genetic engineering is done to increase the yield and production of crops.

2. Genetically modified products in the market cannot be harmful to humans

There is a possibility that modern biotechnology related products can be toxic if there are some errors in the insertion of a particular desired gene. This can cause interference with the natural metabolic pathway of a plant which can produce harmful toxic products. However, this is possible only in newly discovered products or the products that are not yet out in market.

The general thought which comes to a person when a new product comes into the market is whether they can produce harmful products which can cause long term or short term illnesses in humans. Biotechnology related products which have been genetically modified in the market are completely safe because before a product is released in a market for the need of humans they undergo a series of toxicological analysis and also a number of tests and trials to make sure that they are causing no harm to the humans. So before anyone starts thinking that biotech related products in the market are toxic be assured that it's not possible.

3. GMO products show no direct harm to the environment

The genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have a wide range of applications from being an indicator of environmental pollution to their use in diagnostics of various diseases. Since the applications of GMOs are gaining their significance, it is quite crucial to know what impact do they have on the environment.

The genetically modified crops which have been growing in naturally occurring conditions are showing no significant harm to the environment. In fact, they tend to decrease the use of certain pesticides which are harmful to the environment by incorporating a pest resistance gene into the plant itself.  There is a possibility that sometimes toxic substances may be produced due to the metabolic activities of certain GM crops which could impact the fertility of a particular soil.

The long term effects of GMOs on the environment are unknown as the field of modern biotechnology is a relatively new field. However, there are some possibilities in the near future that the GMOs can react with naturally occurring plants to produce a mutant strain whose effect on the environment can be harmful. The metabolic products of these mutant can also act as pollutants persisting long term effects on the environment.

4. GM crops do not lose their natural taste

When it comes to food crops one of the most essential parameter that decide its selection amongst a range of customers is its taste and aroma. A food crop has no value in front of a customer if it does not have it's proper characteristic taste. Thus, it is very important to know that whether the use of genetic engineering to modify a particular crop can actually destroy the taste of that crop.

The tastes and aroma development in agricultural products are a result of various metabolic reactions undergoing inside a particular crop. The taste of a fruit or a vegetable generally depends upon the ripening time. If the ripening time given to a fruit or a vegetable is high then they tend to develop a better flavour. 

There is no particular proven research which states that the crops tend to lose their natural aromas and flavour after being genetically modified.

5. Genetic engineering does not affect the appearance of food products

The most significant parameter for someone who is willing to buy food products is its appearance. Every food product has its own characteristic appearance which attract customers. A food crop has no value in the eyes of the customers if it looks different than its original appearance. For example, a maize should have a yellow and shiny appearance which tends to give a perception that it is fresh and of high quality to the customers which increases its sales. At the same time if there is a maize whose appearance is not appealing to the customers then no one will tend to buy it. Thus, appearance plays a vital role in the success of food products. 

When a crop is genetically modified it undergoes a lot of changes internally but its appearance on the external side remains the same. One cannot differentiate between a genetically modified food product to the naturally occurring food product as they have almost identical external appearance.   


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