QPlease list each of the benefits that GMOs offer the consumer. For example, why should a mother choose GMO food to feed her young child over, say, non-GMO organic food?

Please list each of the benefits that GMOs offer the consumer. For example, why should a mother choose GMO food to feed her young child over, say, non-GMO organic food?

AExpert Answer

While it is true that, to date, the majority of the benefits of GMOs have been realized by farmers, there are also important examples of direct consumer benefits. GM commodities incorporating pest resistance can and have significantly reduced pesticide use and resulting pesticide residues.  This is especially important in low-income countries, where farmers frequently lack access to safe pesticides―and may not be properly trained in pesticide use, or in postharvest processing to reduce residues. Foods with reduced pesticide residues (either synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture or biologically derived pesticides used in organic agriculture) are healthier for all people, particularly for women and children, who are very sensitive to their impacts.  

 

GE technologies are also increasingly being used to improve specific nutritional qualities of food.  For example, genetic engineering has been used to develop soybean varieties with healthier fatty-acid profiles. Some contain more oleic acid―a monounsaturated fatty acid found in most oils but mostly associated with olive oil―and fewer saturated fatty acids than traditional soybeans. Another GE soybean has an increased level of omega-3 fatty acids, associated with heart health. The result of these types of GMOs is healthier cooking oils than are currently on the market. 

 

In the developing-country context, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness, particularly prevalent among children. To combat this deficiency, one approach has been to use GE to enrich staple crops with beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). Golden rice is one example of how genetic engineering has made it possible to significantly increase the amount of beta-carotene in rice. A typical serving of the golden rice variety could provide half the required daily intake of pro-vitamin A for a one- to three-year-old child. Researchers are  using both conventional and GE techniques to introduce enhanced levels of other nutrients (e.g., iron, zinc, lysine) to develop “biofortified” varieties of sorghum and cassava, both of which are important staple crops in Africa.

 

The good thing about our food systems in the U.S. is that consumers have a choice about whether to purchase organic or conventionally grown food, based on their personal preferences. What is important is to educate yourself about what those choices mean and to understand their perceived versus real benefits. 

 

*Views expressed are the individual's own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAID or the U.S. government. 

Posted on May 6, 2018
The UPC (Universal Product Code) is a barcode (which has numbers beneath it) which identifies the product and the manufacturer. I think you may be thinking of the PLU (Price Look Up) code which is the 4 or 5 digit number on produce used to link a price with an item. The PLU code is a voluntary program that assigns numbers to produce items, this helps cashiers identify the correct price for a produce item. Growers/Packers can use the number "9" prefix to this 4-digit numeric code to... Read More
Answer:
Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2018
Believe it or not, I jump at opportunities to talk about aquatic life, so thank you for your interest. I developed a passion for aquatic animals early on and remain grateful that I have managed to explore my passions in ecotoxicology for over 25 years! This is a very general question in terms of pesticide/herbicide options that are commercially available and as well as applications. I will focus on glyphosate and dicamba specifically. Two active ingredients in herbicidal formulations that... Read More
Answer: