Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genome has been modified by artificially adding genetic material foreign to that organism. The result is a modified plant whose newly acquired characteristics may increase the efficiency of production but, nevertheless, do not occur naturally.
It is very difficult to assess the effect of GMOs on human health, as there are very many possible side effects to be considered. As in the case of other pollutants and pesticide residues, GMOs may have unexpected effects on people’s health.
Even though GMO plants are more resistant to disease and pests, the new characteristics of the plant may have an irreversible impact on nature. The main reasons GMOs are harmful to people’s health and nature:
- The introduction of genes from one organism into another upsets the physiological balance of that organism. As a result, the gene may start functioning in unexpected ways and produce substances which may have a toxic or allergic effect on the human body.
- People are used to eating natural foods. Our bodies are not capable of changing rapidly enough to handle genetically modified food.
- Genetically modified food causes a disruption in the functioning of human intestinal bacteria.
- GM food has lower nutritional value.
- GMOs are genetically dominant, spread easily in the environment, and contaminate other plants. Wind carries pollen from genetically modified plants to other non-modified plants, and this may change the genetic makeup of those plants. There is no way to prevent this spreading of genetic material.
- Many tests on laboratory rats have confirmed that GM food has a significant adverse effect on fertility and liver function. Since the consequences of consuming GMOs for humans may only become apparent in succeeding generations, there is a need for longitudinal studies.
- Genetically modified animal feed harms the health of animals, and through them, the health of people.
More and more everyday foodstuffs with GM components are becoming commercially available. For example, GMO soy is being used to increase the mass of bread and minced meat; GMO high fructose corn syrup, which is many times cheaper than sugar, is being used as a sweetener in juices and other drinks; and GMO soy oil is being used to give nuts an attractive luster.
The only way to prevent GMOs from finding their way into our bodies is to eat organic food. It is prohibited to use trans-genetic organisms in the manufacturing and processing of organic food originating from certified ecological farming.