The Student News Site of Taipei American School




GM Foods: Aliens of the food world


golden rice 1
Golden Rice
Genetically Modified to fight Vitamin A deficiency
Special Feature: bright golden glow

1. What are genetically modified foods?
Ever heard of Bt-Corn? Well, as “corny” as it may sound, this is a form of sweet corn sold in the market that contains an insect-killing gene. The DNA has been modified in such a way that it does not occur naturally, for example, the introduction of genes from other organisms.
Genetically Modified to resist insects
Special Feature: contains insect killing gene that benefits the farmers

 2. Why in the world are GM Foods produced?
The initial objective for developing GM crops was to improve crop protection. The GM foods that are currently on the market mainly aim to increase the level of crop resistance to plant diseases caused by insects or viruses, but some even increased nutritional value! Seems like man-made foods aren’t that bad after all.
Genetically Modified to resist certain types of viruses
Special Feature: resistant to the ringspot virus in India

Flavr Savr Tomatoes
Genetically Modified to have greater durability
Special feature: Does not rot as quickly as the regular tomatoes, and it is tastier!

3. Are GM Foods safe for consumption? What are the health concerns?
Yes, GM Foods like rice, potatoes and tomatoes are safe for human consumption. The main concerns are their tendencies to provoke allergic reactions, gene transfers and outcrossing. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) have stated that no GM foods known to cause allergic effects are currently on the market. You can sleep soundly knowing that the probability of gene transfer of GM foods to the cells of the body and outcrossing (movement of genes from GM plants into other organisms) is low. On the other hand, GM Foods like Coca Cola needs to be consumed in moderation, as the manufacturing company won’t even disclose the ingredients used to make this popular drink!

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