Change is the only constant. Yet, we always seem to resist change. Any change that we don’t fully understand or what instills a sense of doubt in us will cause us to fret. Bioengineered foods or genetically modified crops have been treated with substantial suspicion. Some call it evil while some raise the red flags of unforeseen long term changes to our very genes. Some doubts have been unfounded and some concerns have been outright rejected by scientific findings. However, it is not all good news with bioengineered foods. Here is a list of bioengineered foods pros and cons for your consideration.
List of Pros of Bioengineered Foods
1. Better Quality
Every biological process is perfect in its own way and it is also flawed. Genetic modification irons out those flaws or shortcomings and gets closer to perfection. As a result, bioengineered foods taste better, they look better and they also have customizable properties. For instance, corn can now be a tad sweeter and some peppers can be less spicy than they are.
2. Resistant to Epidemics
One of the reasons why bioengineering or genetic modification was toyed with in the first place is to make crops more resistant to epidemics. Pests, insects, drought and various kinds of disease have always plagued our agricultural produce. Even the trees bearing fruits are not immune to an array of diseases. Genetic modification or bioengineering makes crops less vulnerable and in some cases immune to diseases.
3. More Nutritious
Through genetic modification, crops can have added minerals and vitamins. There can be super foods. Ordinary crops can be healthier and more holistic. Many people don’t like the idea of added vitamins or minerals but it is not the same as adding extra sugar or preservatives in packaged foods. Bioengineering alters the genetic structure so what you get is healthy addition of nutrients and not in their adulterated form.
List of Cons of Bioengineered Foods
1. Damage the Environment
Bioengineering or genetic modification can cause damage to the environment. The environment naturally doesn’t support the growth of bioengineered crops. Hence, special arrangements have to be made. More water is needed, special treatments are warranted and the soils are also pretreated to support the growth of genetically modified foods. This doesn’t augur well for the soil, groundwater and the environment at large.
2. Increase Cost of Production
Hence, agriculture becomes an expensive exercise. It is hard to say if bioengineering nullifies inflation by increasing production or making crops more resistant to disease. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that bioengineered foods reduces costs or keeps them stable. The initial cost and the recurring cost are only taxing on those funding the processes.
3. Cause Allergies
Bioengineered foods are causing hitherto uncommon and some unknown allergies in humans. The doomsday enthusiasts have reasons to be cynical.