What are the pros and cons of genetically modified food?

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Genetically modified foods (GM foods) are also called genetically engineered foods. GM foods are prepared by changing the natural DNA of the food by using the method of genetic engineering. This process changes the pattern of growth or original content of the food and controls the natural traits of the food by adding newly selected traits into the food.

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The technology used to modify the natural DNA structure of the food is known by various names such as modern biotechnology, gene technology, genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technology. GM foods are part of the genetically modified organism which includes genetic changes in the plants, animals, and microorganisms.

The first time the GM plant was introduced in the year 1983, which was a tobacco plant. It was produced by adding antibiotic-resistant genes. The first GM food was a tomato which got the approval in 1994. The first country which came up with commercializing the GM food was China, by introducing tobacco having virus resistant traits.

The use of GM food has always been a matter of concern. In a few countries, it has been legalized but there are some countries which are doubtful about the agricultural use of genetic engineering.

As the consensus of scientists, the GM food available as of now is safe for human health. To be on the safe side, the food which has to be approved should be first tested. Let’s look at the pros and cons of GM food to get a clear idea what the concern is all about.

Pros of GM food:

  • Weather resistant: GM crops can withstand extreme weather conditions. The introduction of genetic engineering crops can be changed in a way that they can be grown in any location of extreme cold or hot.  This means that the farmers don’t have to wait for the right temperature and weather.
  • Insect resistant: GM food has a great resistance from insects and pests attack. It will reduce the number of fertilizers used on the crops. Farmer's money will be saved which is used in buying expensive pesticides and fertilizers.
  • High yield: The introduction of GM engineering, the yield of plants can be increased. One GM seed produced a large number of plants in return.
  • Reduced deforestation: When the income of farmers will double by a few plants, they will not go for adding land for crop cultivation. It will reduce the rate of deforestation.

Cons of GM food:

  • Changes in taste: The GM food does not have the same taste and flavor as the original food has. The introduction of new traits changes the taste of the produce.
  • Nutritious quality: The level of nutrition available in the conventional fruits is not present in the GM foods. The chemicals introduced in the GM food reduce the quality of the food.
  • Soil degradation: In the natural process plants utilize the nitrogen from the soil. It is not the same in GM crops. The plant cycle gets destroyed.
  • Food supply: food supply is at risk. The GM food is patented by the company produces it. Hence, only that company can produce it. On the other hand, people prefer shiny and big fruits and vegetables which make the poor farmers at risk.

GM food has a long way to go. It needs technological advancement and has to attain the trust of people.


Different people have different perceptions about genetically modified food, commonly referred to as GMO’s. While some think that, they are beneficial as they increase the resistivity of the crop against natural calamities making food available to a larger mass of people, some are under the impression that they can cause sudden deaths due to modification in the internal cell structure or tumor growth in the body.

Listed below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of GMO’s.

Benefits of GMO’s:

  • They can enhance the taste of the food. For example, the taste of pepper can be made spicier or sweeter as per your choice. Flavors, which are not appetizing, can be made palatable for the tongue.
  • Genetically modified foods are reported to be much more resistant to diseases. It can be thought as a type of vaccine for the plant so that they can fight against sudden diseases.
  • GMO’s are genetically modified to add more nutritive content to the food in developing countries, i.e. to make them rich in necessary vitamins and minerals.

Disadvantages of GMO’s:

  • One of the main cons of GMO’s is that they take a longer period to grow and hence add no economic value to the growth of such type of species. Maintenance of GMO’s is also a factor, which makes non-GMO,’s preferable among farmers.
  • Research has shown that people consuming GMO’s are more susceptible to developing food-based allergies. An allergic variant of soy, when eaten by an animal, would make the animal allergic too. The allergy would then be transmitted to humans by consumption of this animals’ meat.

Do you know, the food you eat nowadays can be a genetically modified(GM) food. Genetically modified foods are made from soy, corn, or other crops which are grown from the seeds with the genetically engineered DNA.Genetically modified foods can have their part in your snacks.

Do GM foods are healthy or they are just ruining your health? It is a question of debate. Mostly people are in the favor of GM foods but some are against it.

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Here are some pros and cons of genetically modified food.


  • Highly resistant to diseases - Due to genetic modification, the plants and animals can become more immune to diseases.
  • Enhanced quality - After the modification of food, its taste is enhanced. Corns can be made sweeter and peppers can be made chillier. The modification can be done to get the desired taste.
  • More nutrition - GM food has more vitamins and minerals because of their modification. They can provide you the great source of nutrients. These foods are helpful at the places where the proper sources of nutrients are not available.


  • Allergies - It has been found that the allergy problems have taken a hike and some people believe that, it is because of the GM foods. But according to Harvard University, there is no evidence that GM foods are culprit. Some people have also claimed that the transfer of the protein from one plant to another in genetically modified process tends to cause the allergies.
  • Antibiotic resistant - Antibiotic bacteria can resist the antibiotics, which makes it difficult to kill them. Antibiotic resistant germs are infecting millions of people and it causes the deaths of many every year, as said by CDC.

    Many people think that the GM foods are increasing the counts of the antibiotic germs. Nevertheless, there is no evidence to support such kind of claims against the GM food on antibiotics.
  • Cancer - In the year 2013, food and chemical toxicology published a paper which stated that the GM corn is prone to cause cancer and premature deaths of rats. This statement rendered the journal`s editors to scrutinize the evidence and they found that the experiment was conducted only on the few rats. The particular strain in rats was prone to cancer. The final conclusion was never told. Since that time, the paper has been published in many other journals. Spreading an uncertain news that GM foods causes cancer.

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  • Not Economical - The time required to grow the GM food is same as that of non-GM food. Moreover, to grow certain crops the cost is higher than the normal crops. Hence, there is profit in growing the GM crops.

So, these are the pros and cons on the genetically modified food. There is no clear statement about the GM food. The debates carry on, till now.

More research is needed in this field. Many claims are just anecdotal evidence which doesn't lead to give an emphatic answer about the use of GM foods. The European Commission has mandated the labeling of GM food, but in USA there is no such rule. So next time, when you go to purchase your food, ask, is it GM food or normal food.

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