You must have heard the term genetically modified food items a lot and if you are clueless as to what it is, just read on. When we talk about genetically modified food items, we mean food products that have been grown from crops and organisms that have been genetically modified. The DNA structure of these organisms is altered in order to make them rich in more nutrients, and so that can grow faster. They are also modified to protect them from diseases and other harmful substances. Most of the genetically modified food items are plant products like corn, canola oil, cotton seed oil etc.
TYPICAL BIOTECH FOOD ITEMS
Genetically modified food items are also called biotech foods. Majority of the crops and organisms grown in most parts of the world are adopting this technique. This helps save natural resources as well as these crops use water and soil more efficiently and don’t require any extra tending to. Thus you can produce more with less resources and this is the reason why many meat producers, dairy farmers and crops are opting for genetically modified varieties. Here are a few typical genetically modified food items that are being widely grown all over:
Corn is being modified to include a gene that kills insects. This helps farmers as they no longer have to spray the crop with pesticides that are not only harmful for the environment but harmful for the farmer and people who eat the corn as well. Most of the corn in America has been genetically modified and is being eaten all over the country.
Most of us are consuming modified soybeans as this food item is used as an additive in many substances like chocolate, cereal, baked goods and ice cream. Almost 90 per cent of all soybeans in the world have been genetically modified. Majority of these modified soybeans is being used for livestock.
Sugar beets are one of the newest crops to be modified. Even though there was some attempt to modify it in 2008, it was stopped because the USDA did not issue a statement about its impact on the environment. Sugar beets are being modified now to grow faster as they take very long to grow.
Potatoes are mostly used for livestock and around 75 per cent of all the potatoes grown in today’s world are used in the starch industry and to feed the livestock. The rest 25 per cent is what is consumed by human beings. Potatoes are being modified to resist diseases like PhytophthoraInfestans, that caused the infamous potato famine in the 1840s. Scientists are trying to bring out more modifications in potatoes so that they can use them more in the glue and lubricant industry.
This was the first product to be modified and brought to the United States of America. The modification process has undergone many changes since then and now it is modified mainly so that they can survive for long periods. This will allow them to be transported to different parts of the globe with ease.
Squash has been genetically modified in order to make it more resistant as it is highly susceptible to viral diseases. This modified squash can resist many diseases but the beetles that eat this squash are prone to bacterial wilt diseases. Scientists are concerned that this genetically modified squash is not being grown in controlled agricultural fields, but is being grown in the wild. This could lead to severe harmful consequences for people and the environment as well.
Oils have a number of benefits are not just used to fry and cook things but can also be used as an ingredient in many food items. For instance margarine is made using oil and even potato chips have oil as a key ingredient. Thus oil that has been modified is not just cooking oil but also oil that we consume directly in another food item. Oils are generally modified to get rid of any bitterness and also making the plants from which oils are extracted, resistant to any herbicides.
Rice is one ingredient that forms atleast one key meal for half the world’s population. This is the reason why it has been decided to alter rice so that it contains more Vitamin A. At present, majority of the global population are suffering from a deficiency of Vitamin A. This can cause blindness and even death in some extreme cases. Thus this modified rice will provide you the nutrients of Vitamin A and is thus called golden rice. Scientists have also modified rice and added iron to it so that people with an iron deficiency could benefit from eating it. But either iron or Vitamin A can be used in one kind of modification. Both have not been used to modify the same batch of rice till now.
Salmon has been modified recently but has not as yet been tried by the public though there are talks of that happening soon. This new modified salmon will be grown on exclusive fish farms so that they do not harm the environment and are also protected themselves. Modified salmon will be twice as huge as regular salmon and will also develop faster. Scientists are worried that though these modified salmon are sterile in nature, somehow the environment will intervene and cause the DNA to be mutated so that the salmon becomes fertile.
LIST OF BIOTECH FOODS
Here are some other genetically modified food items:
Honey is considered modified because it is collected from bees that have consumed nectar from modified plants and flowers
Cotton can be modified to create a chemical that resists and gets rid of pests. This cotton can then be used as oil and consumed.
Scientists have also altered sugarcane to make it more resistant to any pesticide but the public has not approved of this modified variety
Canola oil is also modified to resist pesticides and this oil can be used in baked goods and snacks as well as oil products
Flax has also been modified to resist any herbicides and this flax can then be used as flax seed and oil in many products
Papayas have also been altered to become more resistant to viruses
Cotton Seed Oil
Cotton seed oil has been modified and is used in fried foods, oil products and vegetable oils
New varieties of tobacco have been modified to contain less nicotine
Most of the animals from which we get meat have been fed genetically modified food items.
Some peas had been modified to make them create pesticides but this caused a harmful reaction in certain mice. This could have the same allergic reaction in humans.
Vegetable oil is considered modified as it is made using items that have been genetically modified. If you are looking for vegetable oil that has not been modified, go for the organic variety
Most of the cows are now being given a hormone that aids growth and can be found in the cow’s milk
You can get vitamins from genetically modified food items like soybeans and corn