What Are Some Pros and Cons of GMO Foods?

Some pros of genetically modified foods include better overall quality and taste of the food, more resistance to disease and more nutrition benefits, according to Health Research Funding. Some cons of GMO foods are environmental damage, no economic benefits and an increase in allergies.

When modifying foods, it is possible to enhance the flavors, making them taste better or intensifying the sweetness or spiciness. Genetic modification of plants and animals can lead to disease resistance. It is possible to add vitamins and minerals to GMO foods which increases the nutritional value of the food. This is beneficial for certain people, such as those living in developing countries, who do not have access to nutrients in other ways.

GMO crossbreeding and growing plants and animals in conditions that normally could not support those species can cause damage to the environment. For example, weeds that crossbreed with GMO plants can become resistant to herbicides. In a 12-year span, farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMO crops. GMO foods do not grow any faster than unmodified foods so there is no economic advantage to growing these foods. Several studies show that the intake of GMO foods raises the risk of allergic reactions from food. As of 2016, it is unclear if there are any long term consequences of GMO consumption.

At the same time, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less soil erosion exist due to the production of GMOs. GMO animals and crops require less land, machinery, chemicals and time.

Through the modification of foods, products often taste better and result in higher nutritional value. Products become enhanced, with produce adjusted to be more spicy, sweet or flavorful. Particularly in countries with limited access to nutritional foods, genetic modification can add important nutrients to support health.

Citing concerns posed through animal studies, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine encourages doctors to advise patients to adhere to a non-GMO diet. Side effects in animals consist of infertility, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, rapid aging and organ damage.