GMO vs. Non-GMO’s

GMO vs. Non-GMOs

Lauren Almasy, Senior Staff Writer

With all the hype today about being environmentally conscious and being more aware of all products Americans ingest, even teens engage in the debate on what’s good vs. what’s not good for us.  The argument between those favoring GMO vs. non GMO products is an ever existent one.

What is the difference between GMO and Non-GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Non-GMO means that the product is made from a naturally occurring organism. There are many discussion on  which is healthier for consumers. After research, it can be concluded that both products have advantages and disadvantages.

A product is labeled genetically modified after its genetic material is altered through engineering techniques. The idea of taking genes from one thing, and inserting them into something completely not related  to it on any biological level seems to make people uncomfortable. What consumers don’t realize is that there are a lot of benefits to genetically modified crops. The crops that undergo engineering have improved considerably. Farmers use less pesticides and have found the crops to be more durable and more resistant to plant diseases. In the future, engineers wish to modify crops so that consumers will gain more health benefits, such as more protein or less fat.  Since genetic modifying is still relatively new, rigorous tests have been developed to confirm its safety for human consumption.

Non-GMO’s are self explanatory. Consumers feel safer buying products that have continually been proven safe through the years. However, many people do not realize that Non-GMO’s have some negative factors as well. Non-GMO plants are more susceptible to plant diseases and are less durable than GMO’s. In addition, they can lack nutrients that GMO’s can provide. Non-GMO’s are less beneficial to farmers because the number of crops that they lose is increased.

A lot of students are not even sure what GMO stands for if they are asked. For instance, Senior Nancy Margala says, “I have no idea.”  However, there are students in the school who stand completely opposed the idea of GMOs. Daniel Strimbu, a senior, says, “I don’t like that crops can be genetically modified with something not even related to the original product. It’s unnatural and there have been links between GMOs and other health issues. I think GMOs should only be used in a time of food crisis.”

The head of food services here at HHS, Sam Mantas, remarks however that none of the foods served in school meals contain GMOs. If this is true, then there is concern about these products, at least on this level.

However, many of HHSers  favorite fast food places, almost all of which serve fries from GMO potatoes, are still frequented by students. So the next time an HHS student stands in the lunch line, perhaps he or she will be more aware of the difference between the two, and be comfortable with the knowledge that both may be safe for consumption.