ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES of transgenic foods

The advantages of transgenic foods are visible and have a direct impact on improving production, while the disadvantages of transgenics, although perhaps not so visible in the short term, could be detrimental to humans and their ecosystem in general.

What is a genetically modified food?

Transgenic foods are those foods that have been genetically modified to acquire new characteristics that facilitate their production or give them new benefits and advantages. Nowadays, more and more foods are transgenic, which generates an intense debate between those in favor and those against transgenics.

Examples of transgenic foods

To give you an idea of the presence of transgenic foods in our daily lives, here are some foods that have usually been genetically modified to improve their production:

  • Corn: it is modified to be more resistant and produce more efficiently. Although it sounds shocking, 85% of the corn produced in the US is transgenic.
  • Tomatoes: many of the world’s tomato variants today are genetic modifications that make them more nutritious and resistant.

Advantages of GM foods

The main advantage of transgenic foods is easy to see, since the genetic modifications made to foods are usually focused on improving some aspect of the food itself. These modifications can, among other things:

  • Improve production efficiency, which lowers costs and therefore offers the product to the consumer for a lower cost. Some people advocate that transgenic foods could more easily lead us to eradicate hunger worldwide. If these genetically modified versions are improved bit by bit, they will become cheaper and cheaper to produce.
  • Improve the characteristics of the food by being able to add new nutrients, new sizes and protection against viruses and herbicides. (Which in part is also part of the production improvement).
  • Improving the durability of the product so that it remains edible for longer.

Disadvantages of GM foods

The main disadvantage of transgenic foods lies in the lack of knowledge we have of the side effects that the genetic modifications of these foods may harbor. Their main detractors argue that we have generalized the consumption of these foods too quickly, and that we still do not have an idea of the damage that this could cause.

While it is true that for centuries we have been carefully selecting certain foods to obtain the most productive and powerful genetic variants for our food, direct genetic modification is a step further and we still do not have much control over it. For this reason, many voices around the world call for caution with this type of food; there are even certain transgenic foods (or certain techniques) that are banned in some countries.