Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who Knows About GMOs

Organic is a common food label in the grocery store. Most people try to eat this type of food to live a healthier lifestyle. Organic foods are assumed genetically modified organism, or GMO, free. But is it really? A GMO is an organism in which its DNA has been altered or rearranged differently than its natural sequence through introduction of DNA from a different organism. This type of food manufacturing has been around since 1994 and has been rising in popularity ever since. GMOs have many benefits in agriculture, but also some negative health concerns. The problem with this is the uncertainty of how unhealthy GMOs are, and that many of these foods are not labeled for the consumer.

The major benefit in GMO foods has been an increase in crop production. Most GMO foods have drought resistant and insect resistant genes to aid in stable growth. Not only does this help farmers have a sustainable crop, but it also helps feed more people throughout the world. Even though these are exciting benefits, the negative affects are still unclear. Scientists really do not know the true effects on humans consuming GMOs. Many have tested on animals, in which inflammation and kidney problems have been noted. Some other problems raised were allergy concerns. For example, crops that are supposedly peanut-free can sometimes have DNA from nuts integrated into their genome for unspecified reasons. This raises concerns that foods specified as allergen free will have traces of allergen causing genes that could become expressed. Ashley Koff, who is a registered dietitian that critically studies GMOs, suggests not enough long term studies have been conducted to surely say GMOs are completely safe and healthy.

With so much uncertainty, labeling becomes an issue. There are no requirements to label GMOs in the United States. Many people think that GMOs should be labeled and it should be the consumer’s choice if they want to risk eating them or not. The benefits of GMOs are clear, but the unknown effects on humans remain blurred.  

Posted by: Cara Murphy (3) 


  1. I was always interested in the whole topic of GMOs and organic foods. I never understood what made organic foods different from other foods, and it was interesting to read that it was the absence of GMOs in these foods. Although GMOs have not been proven safe for humans, I have read about more benefits to the environment since GMO crops do not require as much chemicals to grow, are insect resistant and more environmentally friendly. Until there is more research into the harm GMOs have on the environment, I don’t think consuming GMO foods is necessarily a bad thing.

    Yustina Kang (Group 2)

  2. Yustina,

    I agree with you that the benefits of GMO crops are great for sustainable farming and environmental reasons! As research continues on this topic, I hope that it proves GMOs are not harmful to humans since it does help crops resist drought and insects with less harsh chemicals. But, I do have an issue with GMOs not being labeled. I really feel like it should be labeled so the consumer is free to decide what is best for themselves, even if there is no harm in GMOs. Thank you for your insight on the post!

    Cara Murphy