Part of caring for the planet is ensuring a food supply that is healthy for the environment and healthy for humans. Scientists, farmers, policymakers, and consumers don’t always agree about how this should be done.
- Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are foods that have been changed by scientists at a cellular level. These changes have some benefit, such as they destroy or repel insect pests or they are hardier.
- Some scientists are concerned that GMOs aren’t safe.
- Other scientists say that GMOs have been around for a long time and have a proven track record of safety. These scientists believe that GMOs will allow farmers to grow more food less expensively—and could even help solve the problem of world hunger.
- Organic foods are those that are grown without use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, although farmers can still use approved natural pesticides, such as ones made from plant extracts.
- Pesticides have been linked to cancer and they have been known to pollute waterways, causing harm to fish, birds, insects, and other animals.
- Organic farmers must follow strict rules and procedures. Growing organic food is more expensive than growing traditional foods. That is why organic produce costs more.
- Organic produce is hard to find in some areas.
Questions and Answers
Question: So are GMOs harmful or not? And what should I eat if I can’t afford organic produce?
Answer: The question of GMO’s safety needs further research. Many scientists believe we should continue to produce GMO food, but provide ongoing safety testing. Organic food can be more expensive and harder to find than traditional food.
Focus on eating a healthy diet with lots of produce and whole grains. Wash foods thoroughly and peel them when possible.
Read more about GMO safety.