Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) has turned into a huge buzz word in today’s society and has also caused a lot of fear of what is in our food. Misconceptions of GMO’s are all over the internet. Whether it be how “unhealthy” they are for you, or how the agriculture industry is “farmed and dangerous,” many have only heard about one side of the story and look over why GMO’s were created in the first place. Here are a few reasons why GMO’s are used and why they may not be as scary as you may think.
Selective breeding is not a new wave thing
Selective breeding has actually been around since human civilization, and is not something that just recently “popped” up within our crops to harm us. Cross-bred crops are bred by closely or distantly related individuals which contain desirable traits the other individual plant may not contain. This creates a new genetic code that produces desirable, more controlled traits and yields. The reason agronomists breed genes is to create foods that are resistant to extreme weather, insects, and diseases. GM (genetically modified) crops are strong, healthy crops that can better withstand the environment.
GMO’s actually cuts down on pesticide use
A huge fear many seem to have with genetically modified food is they believe we are just eating pure chemicals. Many assume non-genetically modified food contains less chemicals and are healthier for you. The difference between the two is that genetically modified crops are bred to withstand disease and pests to reduce pesticide use, while non-genetically modified crops actually use more pesticides and chemicals to keep the crop “healthy.” Pesticide application can be far more abused due to spraying too much pesticide on a non-GM crop, which actually results in higher toxins than a GM crop even contains. This also ties into people claiming non-GM crops are healthier. It has been proven that the nutrient levels in both GM crops and non-GM crops are the exact same, and that there is no difference between the two, except price differences. Claiming organic or non-GM crops are healthier is a marketing ploy done by producers to sell their products.
Farmers have families they care about just like we do
Farmers and workers in production agriculture are not people that should be feared. I know my farmer would never grow anything he wouldn’t eat or feed his children. Farmers have families just like everyone else in the world and want to be able to provide the best food they can on their dinner table for their families as well. Farmers also do not want to see anyone go hungry and they are doing their part of controlling hunger by planting genetically modified corn to increase yields to feed the world. By 2050 farmers will have to increase yields by 50% since the world population is expected to double. Land is a limited resource, so farmers are doing everything they can to produce as much food as possible with limited resources.
Just like IPhones, you either fear how they have taken over the world or you embrace them
You hear horror stories about all the popular items on today’s market every day. GMO’s are just like smartphones, no matter how much you fear they are taking over the world, you won’t live in a world without them! Taking the time to sit down and talk to a farmer instead of listening to second-hand stories the media has put out there will help lessen your fears about how our food is grown. So, step out onto the farm and see all that our food producers do for us!
Illinois State University Student