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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: Be careful with how many GMOs you consume

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Makenzie Miller
(Illustration)

Genetically modified organisms are safe to eat, but, like with anything else, they can be bad for you if you consume too many of them.

For those that don’t know what GMOs are, genetically modified organisms are plants, animals or microbes that have been altered using genetic engineering

The biggest concern with adding GMOs is that they alter the DNA of food as well as humans— in some cases— when we eat them. I’m not saying that you should stop eating GMOs right now — which is simply unrealistic — but what I am saying is to be careful with how much you consume.

GMOs essentially manipulate an organism’s DNA to make it grow faster or make a piece of fruit, such as an apple or papaya, appear larger than it was before altering its DNA.  

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GMOs can also alter the color of pineapples when manipulated. According to the Food and Drug Association (FDA), pink pineapples are a product of bioengineered food.

According to the FDA, many GMO crops grown in America are used for animal food, and, as we all know, GMOs are in human food as well. GMOs are also protected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

GMOs are regulated heavily by the FDA, USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They all work together to make sure that the GMOs going into food are safe for people, animals, and the health of the plant being modified. 

While there are many upsides to GMOs, including cheaper food prices, added nutrients and fewer pesticides, there are some cons to GMOs. 

According to Insider, food products containing GMOs can cause allergic reactions in those who wouldn’t be allergic to certain foods in the first place because of the altered DNA in those foods. 

Aside from that, the biggest concern with foods containing GMOs is that they can cause resistance to antibiotics. 

According to the Government of the Netherlands, “the risk of such a gene transfer is very small, but it is nonetheless taken into account when assessing applications for, say, field trials or market approvals.” Scientists often add antibiotic-resistant genes to plants during genetic modification to distinguish the altered plants from the non-altered plants. 

When those foods are consumed, the genes from those foods can be transferred to the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract inside humans and animals, and that bacteria could become resistant to antibiotics in the future. 

While it may not seem like a big issue at hand, if you think about it, it’s bigger than you think. Antibiotics treat and prevent some bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and whooping cough, from reproducing or spreading. 

Although it is rare and can take a long while for the transformation to complete, there’s no harm in being cautious now.

Be careful with how much food containing GMOs you consume. While they are hard to avoid, you can buy products labeled “non-GMO” every once in a while as well to avoid the risk. 

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About the Contributors
Jacinda Hall
Jacinda Hall, Reporter
Jacinda Hall is a reporter for The Sunflower. Hall is a Senior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Hall hopes to pursue a career in writing, editing or teaching journalism at the high school level after graduation. Hall uses she/her pronouns.
Makenzie Miller
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.

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