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Are genetically modified foods safe?

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Quick Answer

While WebMD supports the belief that current genetically modified crops pose no health risks, opponents point out that the long-term health risks remain unknown and that they have been linked to severe allergic reactions. The United States government states that genetically modified foods are more disease-resistant than their organic counterparts.

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Full Answer

The term "genetically modified food" refers to crops that have been altered to include increased resistance to disease and pests. These crops are also drought-resistant, which can increase the food supply, and are modified to have a higher nutritional content. However, WebMD states that opponents believe that genetically modified food also leads to increased antibiotic resistance and the creation of "superweeds" that resist herbicides. In contrast to the United States, the European Union firmly advocates for organic food, pointing out that genetically modified foods force control of the food supply to conglomerates, endangering the livelihoods of traditional farmers.

As of 2014, common genetically modified foods in the United States include soybeans, corn, cotton and grapeseed oil. WebMD estimates that 60 to 70 percent of processed food contains genetically modified ingredients. Because high fructose corn syrup appears in breakfast cereals, snacks, sodas and other foods, unknowing consumption of genetically modified food is high.

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