Q: Why are some foods genetically modified?
Karol: GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, were developed to solve a particular problem. For example, the Arctic Apple and the Innate potato do not brown. These GMOs are helping to solve the problem of food waste.
There are 10 GMO crops on the market. Modifications have been made for the following:
in corn, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton and canola.
in papaya, squash and sugar beets.
in corn and cotton.
lengthens the shelf life of apples and potatoes, reducing spoilage.
is also one purpose for genetic modification.
Q: Can animals be genetically modified?
Karol: The only genetically modified meat is salmon. Traditional cross-breeding and selection for desirable traits is still used in plant and livestock breeding programs, but genetic engineering allows us to solve problems such as food waste quicker. In the case of salmon, genetic engineering has enabled us to raise more food faster.
Q: Are GMOs dangerous?
Karol: A huge misconception about GMOs is that they can be harmful to human health and safety. The truth is, GMOs have been around for 25 years and there hasn’t been a substantiated case of harm to human health as a result of genetically modified ingredients.
It takes an average of 13 years to develop and bring a new GMO crop to the market, because organizations such as the USDA, FDA and EPA conduct years of testing before genetically modified products are allowed for human or animal consumption.
In every crop, farmers must control insects, weeds and fungal damage. The resistance to these yield-decreasing pests developed in GMO crops has translated to a HUGE decrease in the use of chemical pesticides. In fact, insecticide use in some crops is virtually obsolete, and herbicide use has been cut dramatically.