Have you ever wondered what the most common genetically modified foods are? Most of us know that the food we consume today is not 100% natural, in the sense that vegetables for example do not grow the same way in nature as they do on a farm. We rarely stumble across wild tomatoes, apples, oranges, or lettuce while taking a hike or wandering through a field, and if we do, they usually don’t look as tempting as the ones available at your local grocer. Over centuries, farmers have perfected the art of harvesting crops, while large companies have dedicated billions of dollars to developing fertilizers, pesticides, and highly resistant seeds. The most common genetically modified foods are simply the newest development in a field that has been the backbone of the world economy for as long as anyone can remember.
Since agriculture occupies such a predominant spot in most economies and growing food has been humankind’s first and foremost preoccupation, it comes as little surprise that technology has made its way into this industry. As you might have already seen in a recent post on 5 fascinating examples of genetically modified organisms, science has played a crucial role in the development of new breeds of organisms. When it comes to crops, the scenario is the same. By genetically modifying foods, farmers have to worry less about adverse weather conditions and plagues, while consumers can enjoy the most wonderful produce possible. Our list on the most common genetically modified foods will demonstrate that most of these items are consumed on a regular basis, despite the fact that you might not even be aware of the science involved.
As stated above, improving taste, quality, and resilience to pests, are all factors driving genetic modification forward. There are however critics, who claim this unnatural process is not beneficial for humans, raising health concerns to the center of the debate. Nevertheless, with the world population growing at an alarming rate and weather conditions becoming more and more unpredictable, the necessity usually outweighs the concerns. Without going into further detail, let’s turn our attention to our list of the most common genetically modified foods and see what we can learn.
10. Sugar Beets
Due to their slow production rates, sugar beets were recently modified in an attempt to increase output. However, federal courts have recently revoked the USDA approval of sugar beets, due to failure to present an Environmental Impact Statement, thus bringing production to a temporary halt.
As one of the most popular products on the market, potatoes have been genetically modified to resist diseases. Since 75% of potatoes are actually used to feed animals, scientists are working at an accelerated pace to improve the genetic composition of this product.
The countdown of the most common genetically modified foods continues on the next page.
Some strains of corn have been genetically modified in order to generate an insect-killing gene, enabling farmers to harvest this crop entirely without the use of pesticides.
As the first genetically modified food, tomatoes have been vastly improved. The main concern is to make them last longer, while allowing them to be picked before they are ripe and stored for later use.
Due to the vulnerability of squash to certain viral diseases, this crop was modified so that it could have far better chances of survival.
5. Golden Rice
The idea behind this new development is finding a way to counteract vitamin A deficiency. Since it is such a common problem and rice is eaten all around the world, scientists procured a way to introduce the vitamin into the produce through genetic modification.
Soybean production is at an all time high, despite the fact that it is not commonly consumed by humans, but rather utilized as feed for livestock. Genetic modification has allowed for the adding of nutrients to the bean, which are then passed on to the animals that consume it.
Used in a wide range of preparations, oils are one of the most consumed items around. Thanks to genetic modification, bitterness has been reduced vastly, thus enhancing flavor.
2. Animal Feed
As mentioned in several items above, animal feed contains a high degree of genetically modified foods. Adding more nutrients to livestock feed is essential, since they are later passed on to our body when we consume meat.
This is probably the most surprising item on our list, since food products derived from animals are not very common in their genetically modified version. Nevertheless, salmon is one of the available products which have been modified in order to shorten the time they take to mature.