Wednesday, 17 October 2018

7 Health Benefits Of GMO Crops

Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are something we’ve all likely eaten at least once. They are foods that have benefited from genetic engineering. Many strands of corn, soybeans, cotton and similar crops are frequently planted in US fields every year. According to the US Department of Agriculture, GMOs account for 90% or more of the most common crops that are grown by American farmers.

Many believe that GMO foods are perfectly safe to eat and can be grown in greater yields than non-modified crops. There are also many that believe GMOs are unsafe to eat and could be contributing to an increase in common health issues. The pros and cons of GMOs are quite complex, so here are the key points to consider.

What Are the Benefits of GMOs?

1. GMOs improve the quality of the food that is grown.
Genetically modified foods can be engineered to have a longer shelf life, which can limit food waste. It can be used to create stronger colors, eliminate seeds, or have the crop be more tolerant to severe weather changes. Many foods have been genetically modified to improve nutrient content, including calcium and protein.

2. GMOs are easier for farmers to grow.
Genetically modified foods can also be engineered to grow in specific, sometimes challenging environments. Crops can be created that have a greater resistance to insects. They may be engineered to have a better tolerance to various herbicides that may be used. In return, farmers can typically receive a better crop yield at the end of the growing season, which increases their profits.


3. It increases the food yields that we can produce on existing croplands.
By the year 2050, the human population on our planet is expected to top 10 billion people. This means we’ll need more food to be produced with our existing resources in order to support this increase. GMOs give us the potential to do so without changing the cost structures of food.

4. GMOs can be shipped to remote areas of the planet.
The planet currently produces 17% more food than it needs for current population levels. At issue is how food can be distributed to rural populations that have few local food resources. The amount of time it takes for food to arrive in these areas is enough for it to spoil before it can be consumed. GMOs improve the lifespan of the food and its durability, allowing for them to be shipped greater distances with less waste to those who have the greatest hunger needs.

5. Herbicide use on GMO crops is lower than other crops.
In a study by PG Economics which looked at pesticide use on GMO cotton from 1996-2011, it found that there had been a 6.1% decrease in the number of herbicides that had been used compared to how much was expected to be used. More than 1.5 kg of herbicide is still used per hectare, however, and this figure is expected to rise to 3.5 kg per hectare by 2025.

6. Improved taste and quality are also benefits of genetic modification. In addition, scientists are working to create medicinal crops, such as bananas, that contain vaccination properties against such infectious diseases as hepatitis B.

7. Genetic modification also allows for production of bioherbicides and bioinsecticides that are considered environmentally friendly. Because of improved efficiency, GMO food may also conserve energy, soil and water. Other benefits include improved natural waste management and more efficient processing of crops. For society as a whole, GM technology may offer increased food security for non-industrialized nations with growing populations.
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