Genetically modified foods have been making the headlines for a while. Foods are modified by genetic engineering which is when a gene is taken from an organism with the desired traits, and is transplanted into another organism. And the question is; Is genetically modifying the food we beneficial to us or harmful. Just like most scientific discoveries there are many advantages and disadvantages. Almost everybody in the community benefits from the products of GM foods, from the farmers who can produce more of a better crop, to the consumer who pays less for better food. However the problem is that there are few laws to control the process and distribution of GM foods.
One genetically modified food that caught my interest was the GM strawberry. Fact: Strawberries freeze easily. Early frost can ruin strawberry crops. Fact: Peanuts have a gene that prevents them from freezing. Can you see what the scientists were thinking? By isolating the gene in peanuts that prevents them from freezing and inserting that gene into strawberries, scientists have created a strawberry that won't freeze. They have created a stronger crop that will yield more.
As many as 1.6% of Americans are allergic to peanuts, some are severely allergic; a bad allergy attack could cause death. The gene that prevents freezing is also related to the allergy attacks of those who are allergic to peanuts. There is no law about GM foods having to be labeled as having been modified. So now people who are allergic to peanuts would also be allergic to strawberries. It would be possible for them to buy strawberries and have the peanut allergic reaction, possibly resulting in death. The problem with GM foods is people don't know when they're buying these genetically engineered foods.
Scientists are working on other ways to genetically modify the strawberry and tomato to prevent freezing without using the peanut gene. They have found a gene in fish that works similarly.