Genetically modified foods do not sound like naturally grown foods, so it is understandable that people who are not familiar with them would wonder what they are and if they are safe to consume. This blog would provide you more information on what genetically modified (GM) foods are, what their benefits are, and if there is anything you should be aware of before consuming them.
Genetically modified foods are grown from seeds that have been genetically modified. This means the DNA of the seeds has been modified in the laboratory for more ideal qualities. For example, genes of seeds are modified to introduce a desirable characteristic, such as making the plant crops resistant against certain plant diseases, so they are at less risk while being exposed to insects or viruses. Besides, the modification of genes could also remove an undesirable characteristic, such as preventing browning in apples. Gene modification could also enhance a desirable characteristic that occurs naturally but is not enough.
So, is it safe to consume GM foods? In Canada, 15 GM foods have been approved, which includes both Canadian grown and imported foods. Genetically modified foods are strictly regulated in Canada by Health Canada who completes an assessment on all GM foods to ensure they are safe and nutritious before they are allowed to be sold. There is no evidence that GM foods increase the risk of allergic reactions. There is also no evidence that any antibiotic-resistant genes used in GM foods can be transferred to humans.
Labeling GM foods is not mandatory in Canada, so if you are concerned about eating GM foods, contact food companies to know if GM ingredients were used. You could also look for foods labeled “GMO free” or organic. It is also a good idea to plant your own food using GMO-free seeds if you have a garden.