What is the positive side of genetically modified (GM) food?

Expert Answers
thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major advantage of genetically modified (GM) food is that it enables adequate food supply to the burgeoning global population. GM food fosters food supply through various ways which include;

  1. Pest resistance: GM food is more resistant to pests therefore reduces and/or eliminates the need to use harsh pesticides or fertilizer whose remnants can be detrimental if consumed by humans or get into the environment
  2. Disease resistance: Through genetic engineering, plant  biologists are coming up with plants strains that are more resistant to diseases thus reducing food loss while ensuring plentiful harvests
  3. Nutrition: Genetic modification of food can counter malnutrition because genetic engineering makes it possible to incorporate micro-nutrients into different foods thereby curbing malnutrition incidences. For example, the “golden” rice that contains a considerable content of vitamin A was developed for the third world countries to counter malnutrition.
  4. Drought tolerance: Various strains of GM foods are tolerant to harsh drought conditions and with more land being used for housing as opposed to food production, farmers will be forced to utilize less arable land to cultivate food. GM strains of food can still thrive in such harsh conditions.  
gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Genetically modified or GM foods offer the following advantages:

  • Tackling global hunger: With ever rising population, there is need to increase the food production. GM foods can help us in that regard due to their higher yield.
  • Less chemical application: GM crops can grow with less application of chemicals, including, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. This ensures lesser environmental issues (such as water contamination, etc.)
  • Longer shelf life: GM foods have longer shelf life compared to non-GM foods and can be (relatively) easily shipped.
  • Better texture/taste/nutritional value: genetics can help us create food with better texture, taste and nutritional values, as compared to traditional food crops.
  • Other environmental benefits: GM foods can be developed with characteristics that will enable them to grow in regions where regular crops will not grow. An example is salty soils, where GM foods can grow due to salt-resistant genes in GM food. They can be similarly modified to grow in regions with lesser water availability, etc.

Hope this helps.