Monday, October 3, 2011

Is Genetically Modified Food As Bad As We Think?

One of the recent hypes of the last decade was about the consumption of genetically modified food. According to certain people, eating genetically modified food is equal to eating six pounds of pure lard after consuming a entire vat of pure cyanide. Many people have felt strongly that such evil should be erased from the face of the earth and genetically modifying food should be banned indefinitely. But is all the hype true? Should we throw away the test tubes and textbooks and revert back to pushing seeds into the the ground one by one?

No more "science" witchery for us!

But hold on a moment, what exactly does it mean to "genetically modify food"? Are we growing eyeballs and teeth out of tomatoes and apples? Are plants being ripped apart in labs to be put back together with arms and chest hair? Actually, genetically modifying food can be as simple as putting two healthy carrots together in hopes of getting more strong, healthy carrots in the future. It doesn't have to be throwing vats of hormones and death from planes flying across the city skyline. In fact, this "plant breeding" has been going on since growing crops for food became a "thing".

In "more modern "sciency" ways, people have used radiation or chemicals to create favorable traits inside of the plant's DNA. It doesn't have to be a "create sharp teeth" gene either, people have used genetic engineering in plants to help it resist common viruses and bacteria that commonly destroy thousands of acres of crops. Others, take favorable traits from other species and put them into commonly grown fruits and vegetables. Some scientist have found a way to put "coat protein genes" from viruses into plant cells, which will cause the virus to identify the cell as "their own" and will most likely move on to other lamer plants.

Like the squash. Who cares about the squash right?

What's the point of all of this though? Do we really need to be eating such 'horrendous' fruits and vegetables in order to make a few farmers' lives easier? Actually, genetically modified food has been labeled as one of the only realistic solution to world hunger. Would you tell a starving little boy from Kansas that he can't buy fruits and vegetables because you're a little scared of a little genetically modified food?

The thing about genetically modified food is, it's great. Thanks to this recent innovation, people have been able to yield greater amounts of crops, which allows for greater food supply and cheaper fruit/vegetable costs. The cheaper costs and overall available supply has allowed the lower class and the lowerer lower class to be able to eat healthier at a price they can afford. As you know, a single organic apple can cost almost 2-3 times more money than a normal apple at the store, are we going to force the lower working class to survive off of fast food chains such as McDonalds and Burger King because they can't afford "fresh, clean, crisp organic fruit"?

McDonald's: Close enough to real food

The the real problem isn't just the cost, it's the scare. People tend to stereotype genetically modified food as some type of "monster-fruit" that glows and contains mysterious substances that will kill you. The truth is, that organic fruit most likely has the same nutritional value of a genetically modified one. The only difference is at cellular level. But aren't "what you eat is what you are" true? Are we going to become creepy mutants with deformed sperm and eggs that will cause us to be infertile or worst? In reality, the government makes sure that the genetically modified food is as nutritious and healthy as the normal organic counterpart. They make sure that you won't transform into a screaming death worm of death and that you don't explode six days later.

The only risk in genetically modified food is the same risk in "genetically modified" anything. The same risks of "accidentally creating super-bugs" and "accidentally destroying biodiversity". However, is this risk worth the benefits? Is making fruits and vegetables available for everyone, worth the risk of creating some "super virus" that will somehow wipe out mankind due to government-related silliness? Only time will tell.

Pictured: Government-Related Silliness