Many scientists and consumers believe that there are risks involved in creating and eating foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Although there may be advantages to GMOs, many people avoid them because of the potential problems that they may cause.

Controversy over genetically-altered foods

With the world population growing and expected to expand even more in upcoming years, the idea of creating crops that are pest- and drought-resistant seems like a good idea. Those who favor these scientifically-altered foods hope it will be the future avenue to feed the billions of people around the world. However, scientific studies have revealed serious health problems in laboratory animals who were fed GMOs.

Damage to the internal systems of rodents who were fed corn, soy and other foods has resulted from numerous clinical studies. Many people are hesitant to eat certain foods, such as crispy cheese curls and other snacks because they contain GMOs, such as genetically altered corn. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 40 plants have met the federal requirements for use in commercial foods. These include soybeans, corn, cotton and others. GMOs are present in many foods found in neighborhood supermarkets throughout the United States.

Few people realize that they are eating GMOs, but they can be found in a wide variety of commonly eaten foods, including cereals, vegetable oil, crackers, milk, cheese and veggie burgers. GMO crops that are grown most often are corn and soybeans. Frozen meals, chicken nuggets and other processed foods often contain soybean oil that has been genetically modified.

Potential Health Risks

The biggest concern for millions of people with a food allergy to
soy, tree nuts, or to peanuts is that new allergens may develop. When genes from two plants are combined, the possibility of allergens developing increases. Every time a plant is genetically engineered, food proteins can be changed. The risk is that the allergen already present in a food could increase, or present allergens may develop into new allergens. This could result in more people having serious food allergies.

The Institute for Responsible Technology reports that the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) completed animal studies that indicated “serious health risks associated with GM food.” Some of the problems that developed in rats in the lab were infertility, problems with regulating insulin, faster aging, and problems with the immune system. There were also changes in major organs in the rodents’ bodies.

Another serious risk to humans is additional exposure to pesticides from the foods that they eat. GMOs are usually designed to be resistant to pesticides, so crops are sprayed with a pesticide that does not kill them, but kills the weeds surrounding them that could harm the crops. Unfortunately, pesticides have been shown to cause birth defects, cancer and other health problems in laboratory animals.

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