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The Era of Genetically Modified Food

Eating genetically modified foods is a controversial subject in many diets. Despite their extensive history and widespread use, consumers may not always have access to accurate information about these foods. This leads to public skepticism surrounding the safety, environmental, and health impacts. 


New food technologies are essential for food security. Genetically modified foods are also referred to as bioengineered foods because a new gene is introduced, leading to a modification of the food's DNA. This label may be alarming, but the FDA, World Health Organization, and other leading health organizations say they are safe to eat. Society is moving towards a healthier, more natural way of eating. Food technology needs to be a part of this growing trend.


Biochemists Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen developed genetic modification in 1973 by inserting DNA from one bacteria into another. In 1982, the FDA approved human insulin to treat diabetes, the first consumer GMO product developed through genetic engineering. After this, the first genetically modified crop was introduced in the United States in 1994. 


The FDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture all have authority over most GMOs. These three regulating bodies collaborate to test and monitor the safety of GMOs in the United States. 


The FDA maintains strict food and safety standards for genetically modified foods. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates pesticides that make genetically modified crops resistant to insects and viruses. Lastly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ensures that genetically modified foods do not harm other plants. 


The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated compliance on January 1, 2022. This standard requires food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to disclose the use of genetically modified foods. If an ingredient is defined as a GMO, the food label must state that.


Terms like "bioengineering," "genetically engineering," and "GMO" are all used on the packaging. Organic products are free from GMOs. 


The genetic modification of specific foods enhances the crop's agricultural features or improves the food's nutritional value.


Scientists could use the process of bioengineering food to remove allergens, improve efficiency in the production process, or change the nutrients in the food. Scientists are working on producing genetically modified meat. The GalSafe pig omits alpha-gel sugar in its cells which is known to cause an allergic reaction in some people. This meat could be eaten or used for creating medicines.


According to the Center for Food Safety, up to ninety-two percent of corn and ninety-four percent of soybeans are currently genetically engineered. Up to seventy-five percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves are estimated to contain genetically modified foods. 


The world's growing population creates an agricultural challenge to meet the world's increasing demand for nutritious foods. Bioengineered foods can help food production keep up with the world's growing population. According to Medical News Today., the world population by 2049 will be nine billion. Bioengineering crops have filled a significant gap in the supply and demand chain. 


Traditional farming leaves crops susceptible to diseases, pest infestations, and drought. For this reason, foods are genetically modified to yield a consistent quality and quantity when harvested. 


Bioengineered foods have been surrounded by controversy, although they have proven benefits to the supply and demand chain. These products offer an alternative to traditional products and can better the food system. 



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