Pros and Cons of Bioengineered Foods

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Many people are rightfully concerned about how the food they are eating was created. Although the debate on bioengineered foods and labeling them has been going on for some time, people have been eating food that has been bioengineered for some time. With a growing human population and limited land space that is suitable for growing, the science behind the bioengineering of food seems to be needed. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this science, however, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

What Are the Pros of Bioengineered Foods?

1. These foods typically taste better than other foods that are grown.
Other forms of growing food, such as hydroponics, deliver bland tasting foods that are not very appealing to people who eat them. Bioengineering allows scientists to modify the flavors of the foods so that they can be enhanced in preferred ways. Sweet peppers become sweeter, while hot peppers become hotter.

2. The process allows more healthy food to be created.
It is estimated that the world can produce up to 20% more calories than is needed right now for the entire human race. This is due, in part, to the fact that bioengineering allows the plants that create the foods we eat to become more diseases resistant. The same could be said for livestock proteins that are given vaccines to help the animals fight off disease as well.

3. Better nutrition can come with every bite.
When people see enriched flour at the grocery store, they are getting more than ground up wheat kernels. They are receiving a product that has been infused with vitamins and minerals so that every food item can give the consumer the nutrition benefits they need in their diet.

What Are the Cons of Bioengineered Foods?

1. They might be causing people to develop food allergies.
Consuming bioengineered foods has been shown to create the foundation of food allergies in people. The problem then becomes two-fold for the person who develops the allergy. If they cannot eat corn because of bioengineering, then they can no longer eat any other products that have corn in them or even touch foods that are produced on the same machinery that process corn.

2. It may cause environmental damage.
Certain climates just weren’t designed to naturally sustain a full set of crops. By bioengineering the crops to adapt to these environments, we can make better use of our space, but we could be destroying the natural habitat that is already in place. Considering there is no economic value to bioengineering because the costs of food are the same, the costs could outweigh the benefits.

3. It can create new types of weeds.
Cross pollination happens all of the time and weeds are included in the process. As bioengineered plants are introduced into an environment, the pollination can create weeds that are also bioengineered in just a generation or two. This creates the need for more bioengineering to counter the problem.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of bioengineered foods, each person can decide if they wish to eat them and each community can decide if they wish to grow them. In doing so, the best decisions can be reached.