Food fuels your body. It’s an essential part of everyone’s lives. And by everyone, we mean a current world population of almost 8 billion people! A population that’s expected to double in the next 50 years and that already has to deal with major global food challenges. Currently, 40% of the world’s food crop is lost every year and over one billion people are suffering from a lack of food. To feed this growing population in 2050, food production must increase by 70%.
How are we going to deal with this challenge? Could Genetically Modified Organisms be the solution?
GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material is artificially manipulated. This creates combinations of plant-, animal-, bacteria-, and virus genes that do not occur in nature. For example, scientists are able to take a soil bacteria, remove its gene which produces a protein that’s toxic only for caterpillars and incorporate it into the chromosomes of corn.
The technology enables us to increase our food production and make it more efficient. Modified food crops will be resistant to insect fungal diseases and extreme weather conditions. They’ll grow faster need fewer acres to grow and contain more nutrient ingredients. GMOs can fight malnutrition and decrease CO2 emissions and water usage of greenhouses. Sounds good right?
Well, there is also a lot of controversy about GMOs. Since they don’t stay put where planted modified crops could contaminate nearby organics when pollen drifts on the wind. Over time, pests like insects might catch up with GMO’s evolve into superbugs and therefore the use of chemicals will increase.
On an even darker note: A handful of powerful corporations could dominate the entire food industry and control nearly every aspect of how food is produced. They will not only control seed manufacturing but also link them to specific chemicals that these companies sell in order to grow. Ultimately, their only concern is about their profits.
So are GMOs intended to feed people and help farmers or are they developed for financial gain? Politicians all around the world are still wrapping their heads around this question. We do need drastic measures in order to deal with the upcoming global food challenge. But do we want everything that we eat to originate from a petri dish or are there better solutions?
Check out the alternatives to GMOs in our infographic!