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Science versus anti-GMO crusaders, who is actually right?

Genetically modified foods or GMOs are a hot topic in the media and health circles. but what exactly are genetically modified foods and why are they so controversial? 

What are GMOs?

 Genetically modified organisms are defined as organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. It has also been called genetic engineering, modern biotechnology or gene technology.

 The history Behind GMOs

Genetic engineering has taken place for thousands of years, back to the time of the Sumerians and Babylonians. These civilizations used yeast to ferment beverages like beer. When the microscope was invented people discovered microorganisms which were then used in food production. 

In 1946, scientists first discovered that DNA can transfer between organisms.  The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983.  A genetically modified tomato was approved for sale in the united states in 1994.  The modification allowed the tomato to ripen after it was picked. several other genetically modified foods were also introduced in the 1990’s.  By the year 2000, scientists created golden rice which was genetically modified to increase its nutrient value. Today the united states produces the most GM crops and roughly 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans, and 88% of cotton produced in the united states are genetically modified.*

Foods that are Genetically Modified

Below is a list of some common plant based foods that are genetically modified.


In the early 90’s the Hawaiian papaya industry nearly folded when the papaya crops were stricken with the ringspot virus.  Scientists breed a papaya plant that was resistant to the virus which saved the industry. Today 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically modified and there is no conventional method to control the ringspot virus.


About 13% of zucchini grown in the united states is genetically modified to resist viruses.


Corn has been genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides and to express a protein which kills insects which threaten the plants.* 

Why have scientists been altering the genes in plants?

Scientists have been genetically modifying plants to make them more suitable for food, enhance their nutritional value, and resist insects or viral disease.  Biotechnology has helped us to produce more than enough food to feed everyone in the United States. 

Research on the safety of Genetically modified Food

In 2012, the European commission released a statement based on more than 25 years of research on the biosafety of GMOs.  They concluded that, “GMOs are not per se more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies.”  several other organizations including the world health Organization, the American medical Association, the U.S. national Academy of Sciences and the British royal society have examined the evidence and came up with the same conclusion.** 

Should we label Genetically modified Food?

According to the American association for the advancement of Science, “In order to receive regulatory approval in the United States, each new GM crop must be subjected to rigorous analysis and testing. It must be shown to be the same as the parent crop from which it was derived and if a new protein trait has been added, the protein must be shown to be neither toxic nor allergenic.  As a result and contrary to popular misconceptions, GM crops are the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply. There are occasional claims that feeding GM foods to animals cause aberrations ranging from digestive disorders, to seterility, tumors and premature death.  Although such claims are typically sensationalized and receive a terrific deal of media attention, none have stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Indeed, a recent review of a dozen well-designed and long-term animal feeding studies comparing GM and non-GM potatoes, soy, rice, corn and triticale found that GM and their non-GM counterparts are nutritionally equivalent.”

“It is the long-standing policy of the Food and drug administration (FDA) that special labeling of a food is required if the absence of the information provided poses a special health or environmental risk. The FDA does not require labeling of a food based on the specific genetic modification procedure used in the develOpzio delle sue colture di input. Il mandato legalmente tale etichetta non può solo servire a fuorviare e allargare falsamente i consumatori. ** ”

Sono d’accordo con AAAS nella loro dichiarazione. Alterarsi delle etichette alimentari per etichettare tutte le migliaia di prodotti che sono geneticamente modificati sarebbe confuso e fuorviante i consumatori. Non ci sono prove scientifiche che indicano che gli OGM siano dannosi per la nostra salute. Pertanto, un’etichetta del prodotto che afferma che è stata geneticamente modificata sarebbe solo uno spreco.

Gli OGM sono al sicuro o dovrebbero essere evitati?

Sulla base delle prove scientifiche, credo fermamente che il consumo di alimenti geneticamente modificati non rappresenti rischi per la salute significativi. Il progresso della biotecnologia ha beneficiato economicamente l’America e siamo in grado di essere il leader mondiale nella produzione agricola.

La prossima volta che fai shopping nel dipartimento dei prodotti del tuo negozio di alimentari locale puoi andare avanti e acquistare quelle orecchie di mais dolce in vendita con fiducia sapendo che non costituiranno rischi per la salute per te o i tuoi figli.

Fonti: *http: //
** American Association for the Advancement of Science, dichiarazione del consiglio di amministrazione di AAAS sull’etichettatura degli alimenti geneticamente modificati, 20 ottobre 2012
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Link a questo post: I cibi OGM sono sicuri?
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