Bioterrorism Effects on Health
Genetically modified foods sound like super foods that will either solve the world’s food problems or become giant monsters to attack us all. Fortunately (and unfortunately), the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between. The climate surrounding genetically modified (GM) foods has been both positive and negative. Recently, there has been a huge public interest in eating organically and only consuming foods that have been grown from heirloom seeds without the use of chemicals or human interference, which obviously contrasts with the philosophy behind GM foods.
Technically though, humans have been genetically altering food for centuries in order to get the best yields and the most delicious flavor through careful breeding selection. Today, technology has advanced to the point where humans can control the traits of their food directly through genetic engineering to produce desirable qualities and even breed in special features from other plants that are not eaten. Often people imagine GM foods to be foods exposed to radiation or chemicals to mutate them, but in fact, these sorts of genetic manipulations are very similar to the basic breeding selection done since agriculture began.
The major benefit of GM foods is their yield and the positive events that occurring when growing them. For starters, GM foods can be breed and engineered to fit certain climates and watering schedules. Additionally, they can be engineered to have stronger skins to prevent possible environmental damage and ward off possible pests. These features greatly improve the yields and the likelihood that specific plants will survive till harvest. Furthermore, since the pesticides are often grown with the plant, it allows farmers to reduce the number of sprays on their plants that may cause local environmental damage as well as negative health effects.
GM foods can also be bred to develop certain helpful chemicals as part of their nutrient value. Famously, this includes a pig that was modified to have omega-3 acids as part of its makeup in order to provide additional sustenance from its meat. This can greatly improve the health of a population without having to grow numerous plants, meaning such foods can be used especially well in the realm of food aid.
Nonetheless, there is still significant controversy surrounding GM foods. It is unclear of the long-term health effects on humans and the environment. Additionally, it has yet to be seen the effects of these altered plants have their similar cousins and effects such breeding will have on an individual plant species.