The Truth About Genetically Modified Food

Genetically modified food is the scientific community’s effort to increase farming yields in support of an exponentially growing world population.  As with all new science, GM food soon became the subject of scrutiny, consequent propaganda and outright falsehoods.  During the early 1990’s, the forces aligned against genetically modified food devised the term “Frankenfood” which has had great impact upon this most important of debates.

The term Frankenfood immediately evokes thoughts of an out of control monster who will doom us all.  This has skewed public perception against genetically modified food along with obscuring objective facts.  So what is the truth about genetically modified food?

The fact is that these techniques have been used for almost 40 years without a single instance of harm to any human or other animal arising.  Genetically modified food employs techniques no different from selective breeding of plants and animals done by humans for centuries.  Although today’s science can do this far more efficiently and in a micro-targeted basis, the basic principle remains the same.  No one panics at the thought of selective breeding when it comes to domestic show animals, but when applied to plants some cry that it will be the end of the world.

Experts uniformly agree that the selective breeding techniques encapsulated in genetically modified food are neither harmful nor dangerous, however, there is reasonable debate about how this technology could be employed by devious corporations.  An agricultural company with nefarious motives could create a seed that will only grow using their own pesticide or engage in other machinations towards monopolizing a given market.  These are legitimate concerns which could be addressed with laws regulating business practices — just as we have with banking, insurance and healthcare.

The bottom line is that genetically modified food is perfectly healthy and will not harm you whatsoever.  Many use this issue to grind political axes or as a platform to bash corporations.  Transforming the argument to one of health is disingenuous and used only as a scare factor.  There are many things in this world which justify worry — so called “Frankenfood” is not one of them.

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