The potential of genetically modified foods to improve the nutritional value and productivity of cro

Food systems, therefore, are challenged to meet current global needs and those of the future in the light of mounting population pressures and rising quality-of-life expectations, while recognizing increasingly limited arable farm resources.

The potential of genetically modified foods to improve the nutritional value and productivity of cro

For many people in the First World, genetically modified crops have become the latest incarnation of evil biotechnology, which sacrifices humans and the environment for the sake of revenues and shareholder value. On one side of the heated discourse are people who firmly believe that GM crops pose a threat to human health and biodiversity.

On the other side are mainly scientists who are convinced that genetic engineering of plants represents a technology with enormous potential for increasing food production in an environmentally benign way. This controversy has to some extent degenerated into a sterile, even hysterical debate, where important facts are largely ignored and where relatively few new ideas are introduced in order to find ways for using this technology in the safest possible manner.

The opposition to GM crops is in part due to the fact that most consumers in the First World have not yet seen any direct advantages of products derived from this new technology, be it lower prices or improved nutritional quality.

Given the apparent lack of benefit, many consumer associations and environmental groups think it is unjustified to accept any possible risk to the environment that might come from the use of GM crops.

Furthermore, many critics trust neither industry nor regulatory agencies, which they regard as allies of the chemical industry and biotechnology companies. The propaganda from some non-governmental groups, usually exerted through irresponsible journalism, has led to a serious deterioration of public confidence in scientists and governmental regulation institutions.

Destruction of test sites by the most radical environmentalist groups, proposed moratoria on transgenic crops and food retailers refusing to sell transgenic food products are just some of the manifestations that have sprung from the adamant opposition against GM technology. Unfortunately, this has happened without an open, sensible and serious discussion of the scientific, economic and political facts.

Most scientists would consider transgenic crops as safe as, or even safer, for the environment than comparable products obtained through traditional breeding. However, some scientific journals have published negative reports about the safety of GM crops, such as the potentially harmful effects of pollen from insect-resistant corn on the larvae of the monarch butterfly Losey et al.

This publication, as well as its exaggeration and manipulation by environmentalists, has increased the public pressure on the regulatory authorities of various countries to prohibit or delay the use of GM crops.

The potential of genetically modified foods to improve the nutritional value and productivity of cro

But while environmental and consumer advocates in the First World fight against the worldwide use of GM crops in agriculture, hundreds of millions of people in the Third World are malnourished.

And while trying to protect the environment and consumers in developed countries, critics of GM crops block a technology that could be of immense benefit for the majority of people in the Southern Hemisphere.

Any serious attempt to discuss and make long-term decisions regarding GM plants must therefore take into account the facts about poor countries that, so far, have been largely ignored by opponents of this technology.

The human population is growing and it is growing faster than anticipated. To feed all of these people and thus prevent famine, upheaval or civil war, more and better food is needed, at least for the majority of people on this planet who need it most.

Opponents of GM crops claim that feeding the poor is only a matter of better distribution. But inadequate distribution occurs even in developing countries that are net exporters of agricultural products. Thus, to ensure that food is available to everybody, local food production in poor countries must increase.

The potential of genetically modified foods to improve the nutritional value and productivity of cro

This will also benefit the economies of these countries and reduce their dependence on the industrialised world. Farmers in general are neither in favour of, nor against GM crops.

They adopt whatever technologies promise them lower production costs, increased productivity or products of higher value. Indeed, GM crops have been used not only in the USA but also in Argentina, China and Mexico, showing that farmers in developing countries benefit from their cultivation.Dec 19,  · Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns—a review on the possible effects of giving GM feed to animals found that there were no significant differences in the safety and nutritional value of feedstuffs Taylor SL, Fuchs RL () Assessment of the allergenic potential of foods derived from genetically.


The main use of genetically modified foods in the u.s food supply is to ___. a. improve nutritional quality by the production of additional amounts of beta-carotene b.

eliminate potential allergens by altering the proteins synthesized in the plant or animal. Thus, a major goal of plant scientists is to find ways to maintain high productivity under stress as well as developing crops with enhanced nutritional value. Genetically-modified (GM) crops can prove to be powerful complements to those produced by conventional methods for .

Apr 15,  · GM technology has already demonstrated that it has the potential to increase food production while decreasing production costs. For virus-, insect- and herbicide-resistant plants, an average increase in yield of 5–10%, up to 40% saved on herbicides and savings of US$ 60 to per acre on insecticides have been reported (James, ).

Most genetically modified foods in the United States contain genes that increase resistance to herbicides, insects or both, according to the USDA. Advantages Some genetically modified foods are designed to improve nutrition, quality and taste.

Genetically modified crops: hope for developing countries?

See Genetically modified food controversies article for information. Land area used for genetically modified crops by country (–), in millions of hectares.

In , the land area used was million hectares, or million square kilometers.

GMOS in Food - Consumer Reports