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Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe to Consume?

April 20, 2014

One of the most critical points of discussion within food safety circles is the topic of genetically modified foods.

Though this concept has generated a significant amount of excitement, it is also incredibly controversial. Most people seem to present a strong opinion regarding the matter; with advocates claiming that genetically modified foods are the future, and opponents expressing anxieties about potentially unknown side-effects.

The pros and cons of genetic modification

Advocates for genetic modifications generally focus on the ability of these scientific practices to improve the quality of foods. For example, experts suggest that genetic modification could provide us with hypo-allergenic dietary options in the future, as well as produce with more nutritious value than we can currently have.

On the other hand, those opposed to genetic modification worry about the impact that altered foods could impose upon the ecosystem and environment, with health implications also a major point of concern.

As the concept remains relatively new, it is difficult to sift through the chaos and discover the facts regarding the matter. Today, public bias and opinion is at war with scientific fact, leading to a greater degree of confusion in general.

Food safety authorities have not yet discovered any evidence that genetically modified produce could threaten the health of the general public. For example, FSANZ’s Paul Brent suggested that genetically modified foods are completely benign, and therefore not a risk to consumers.

Similarly, President Nina Fedoroff of the American Association for Advancement of Science suggests the same. In a recent piece published by the New York Times, she spoke about the myths surrounding the dangers of genetically modified foods, commenting that these worrisome concepts have not held up under the scrutiny of science.

The verdict?

Despite the wildly varying points of view on the topic, the fact is that genetic modification makes it possible to grow a stronger, more nutritious crop, which benefits farmers as well as consumers. Food can be stored for longer, making it possible to transport to remote areas, and those in need, and allow for a greater adherence to food safety standards.

Although the unknown factors should be taken into consideration, it seems that genetically modified foods are here to stay.