What is a Genetically Modified Organism?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genetically modified structure is unnaturally modified under laboratory conditions with the help of genetic engineering or genetic science. These organisms do not come from natural conditions in nature, but from the combination of plant, animal, bacteria and virus genes (through hybridization studies known as breeding methods).
Many of GMOs are designed to counteract the direct application of pesticides used in pesticide manufacturing or agriculture. However, today’s new technologies are used to improve the structural properties of plants in unnatural ways. Examples of this are the studies conducted to prevent the browning of apples or organisms that have been unearthed with the help of Synthetic Biology (changing organisms found in nature or designing new organisms from scratch). Despite the Biotech Industry’s work in this area, there is currently no conclusive evidence that GMOs increase yields and drought tolerance, or that GMO foods that take their place on the shelves of markets provide any benefit for the consumer.
Can we trust GMO foods?
Unless independent, supportive studies have a long-term safety, it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion that GMO foods are harmless. With the increasing number of sensitive citizens dealing with this issue, opinions are emerging against GMO studies.
Is there a label regulation for GMO foods?
A mandatory labeling regulation for genetically modified foods has been introduced in 64 countries, including Australia, Japan, and all European Union countries. There is no such requirement in Canada.
There is currently no mandatory labeling practice for GMO foods in America. However, The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards (NBFDS) – The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards was published on December 21, 2018 with the Federal Register – Official Gazette. The ‘Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act’, which was officially enacted in 2015, was the beginning of the introduction of the labeling obligation for GMO foods in the United States, with its voice as the “Dark Act” among the American public. In this sense – although not all – some GMO products have been given a deadline to have to be labeled by 2022. Due to the current labeling exemptions, this law does not provide significant protection for American citizens.
Which foods can be found in GMOs?
Many packaged foods contain ingredients derived from oats, soy, canola oil, and sugar beets. The vast majority of these products grown in North America are genetically modified crops.
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Animal Products: Non-GMO means that foodstuffs are made without genetically modified organisms. The NON-GMO project also takes into account sectors that constitute high-risk groups such as animal husbandry, beekeeping, aquaculture, because genetically modified components are widely found in animal feed. Its common presence in animal foods also plays an important role in the consumption of eggs, milk, meat, honey and various seafood for human health.
Processed inputs, including synthetic biology: GMOs can also sneak into foods in the form of inputs from processed crop derivatives and other occurrences of genetic engineering, such as in synthetic biology. Examples of this are: hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup, molasses, sucrose (also known as sucrose or tea sugar), textured plant protein, sweeteners, vitamin yeast products, microbes and enzymes, oils and fats, and proteins.
How does GMO affect farmers?
We can say that GMO is an unusual or a new way of life. That’s why biotech companies can obtain patents to control the distribution and use of genetically modified seeds. In addition to the fact that genetically modified crops pose serious threats to farmers due to this situation, the ‘National Food Security’ of the country where these crops are grown is also shaken.
What are the effects of GMOs on the environment?
More than 80% of all genetically modified crops are developed for herbicide tolerance around the world. The ability of a plant to resist its toxic effects expresses herbicide tolerance. The use of toxic herbicides has increased 15 times since our introduction to GMOs. For example, Roundup is known for herbicides, glyphosate content. In March 2015, the World Health Organization found that the use of glyphosate-based (Roundup, its main ingredient) herbicide can be highly carcinogenic to human health.
Genetically modified crops are also effective against weeds such as herbicides-resistant superweed and superbugs. Apart from that, these weeds can only be killed with the use of stronger poison. An example of this is ‘2,4-D’, dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (the main ingredient of orange gas).
Many genetically modified organisms are the result of the direct spread of chemical pesticides, and are developed and marketed by the world’s largest chemical companies. The long term effects of GMOs are not known exactly. However, once these new organisms spread to the environment, they are irreversible.