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Genetically Modified Foods – Pros and Cons Print


Definition
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) refer to any living thing that’s had its DNA altered using genetic engineering. This could be a plant, animal (including humans) or bacterium and it’s usually done to introduce a desirable trait into the organism, such as larger fruit or drought resistance.


Benefits
There is an ever increasing need for food to feed the over seven billion people of the world. The United Nations expects this number to exceed 11 billion by 2100. Proponents of GMO argue that that GM aims has higher crop yields that increase food production to meet these needs. It prolongs storage life and reduces food wastage. It is estimated that a third of the world’s food crop is lost to insects and diseases or otherwise spoilt. 

 
Another benefit of GMO is that farming becomes more profitable in an age when a lesser proportion of people engage in farming.


GMO plants are more resistant to herbicide and require less pesticide, reducing chemical exposure of farmers. In turn, the reduction of insecticide usage would have a positive effect on the health of human consumers.


Studies have shown a link between farmers who practice conservation tillage and usage of GMO. Combined with reduced pesticides, GMO is said to have a positive impact on the environment.


Concerns
GM encourages the use of a limited number of pesticides. This in turn generates pests resistant to pesticides.


Some express concern that the full impact on human health is not fully understood. For example, by altering proteins, the product may theoretically cause new allergic reactions.  


Critics claim that GMOs indirectly facilitates various harmful practices upon the environment, e.g. monoculture farming.


GMOs remains the intellectual property of the companies that produce them. This has major economic and social ramifications, such as economic dependence of farmers on these companies. India in particular has experienced a wave of farmer suicides blamed on the policies of GMO companies. As the number of GMO companies as fairly limited, the food safety of entire nations become linked to key role players.


SANHA Policy
Clause 3.3.7.4 of the SANHA Halaal Standards states, “Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are Halaal when made from Halaal genetic material.”

 

 
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