These days, there seems to be a great deal of commotion and research-based activity (both within the academic and public spheres) with regard to organic and genetically-modified varieties of foodstuffs; commonly made available through supermarkets and roadside vendor stalls. The debate between these two popular categories of commercial produce & poultry items (and subsequently all the industrially refined edible items that contain them) rages on – with particular emphasis on the health pros & cons pertaining to each belligerent group that fuels the discussion.
With the provision of a reliable and high-speed Internet subscription (such as the Optimum Triple Play Packages), it becomes easy to catch the latest news trends and discussions concerned with this subject – and to make healthier food purchasing decisions. Both for the benefit of oneself & one’s family. People these days prefer the internet connection without cable because of less mess but the biggest question they ask all the time is “Best High Speed Internet Provider?”
But in order to properly appreciate the scope and importance of this topic (‘which food variety is more beneficial, or the least hazardous, for health’), it first becomes necessary to understand and delineate what constitutes organic and genetically-modified foodstuffs, as well as the differences that exist between them.
What is Organic Food?
Organic food in a nutshell, is any plant or animal derived food – which has been grown/bred without the use of any artificial (or synthetically manufactured) chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. In addition, the animals and plants used for yielding organic food are not genetically-modified or hormonally/chemically enhanced in any way – in an attempt to restrict (or completely limit) the passage of any of these deleterious substances in the meals later on derived for human consumption.
To put it simply, organic foods are produced without the use of any chemically or physically altering substances/techniques – in as natural (nature-intended) a manner as possible. Generally speaking, and as per popular perception, organic foodstuffs have been found to contain greater proportions of certain essential nutrients (including Omega 3’s and a few vitamins) than their more commercially-produced nutritional counterparts.
A major drawback concerning organic foods relates to their typically expensive sales prices, which are accounted for by a scarcity of supplying farms, and the costly farming/animal rearing methods used to attain them.
Because of this factor, many people, albeit being more favorably disposed towards the said foods variety, are forced to resort to the cheaper commercially-farmed options.
What is Genetically Modified (GM) Food?
In marked contrast to organic foods (which, ideally, are meant to mimic the natural types of food materials consumed by our ancestors many centuries ago), GM foods are animal and plant species that have been genetically altered on the sub-cellular level to yield a certain desired type of produce.
Using the continually-evolving arsenal of genetic engineering knowledge, skills & techniques at their disposal, geneticists attempt to alter the DNA gene sequences of commercially popular varieties of crops and animals (primarily poultry animals, as well as cows, pigs and sheep etc.). By transferring groups of genes (codons) that code for a particularly desirable type of protein, these researchers open the avenues for reaping in greater revenue sums for farmers, and putting more affordable (and on occasion more nutritive) meals on consumers’ tables.
GM seeds, as per their intended artificial design – which opposes the nature-ordained principles of ‘natural selection’, ‘interbreeding’ & ‘cross-breeding’ – have been shown to bear crops that are made more resistant to the scourge of natural pests and environmental conditions. They may also yield fruits, herbs and vegetables with more enhanced taste, color and nutrient profiles. Commercial plantations of GM crops, which obviously bear the promise of greater profits for their cultivators, may or may not be treated with artificial chemical reagents.
Animals such as cows and chickens subjected to genetic manipulations in their pre-zygotic stage can produce more quantities of milk and eggs respectively; with the beef yielded being more juicy and tender, and the eggs more protein-laden (among other changes from their unmodified counterparts).
As per most findings, GM foods also have a greater shelf-life than all other varieties of food.
The Scarcity of Long-Term GM Food Studies
Even though geneticists and industrialists regularly insist that GM foods pose no greater health risk than more naturally grown food materials, some researchers (not to mention the bulk of the public demographic) remain skeptical.
In several food groups over the Internet, there exists widespread speculation over the alleged link that exists between the consumption of GM foods and certain varieties of cancer and inflammatory health conditions. But most expert opinion on his subject cites the shortage of any long-term population studies on this subject – because of which there is a reluctance in some quarters of the scientific community to issue a definitive verdict regarding the safety profile of GM foods.
And a Few Other Concerns…
Some genetically altered foodstuffs, like the differently-colored tomatoes illustrated photographically on the top of this blog post, may also yield a negative impact on the consumer conscience. People are used to visualizing common fruits & vegetables in a certain way, and too great a divergence between expectation and experiential reality can result in poor sales.
The environmental impact of certain variants of GM crops (analogous in some respects to non-biodegradable packaging material) – that may have been ‘tweaked’ in such a way so as to render them more resilient to the ravages of the elements –also comes about as a profound matter of concern.