Transgenic foods are products that are genetically modified so that they present a characteristic that improves their properties. In 2020, transgenic foods were consumed daily, although their benefits for the body are still under investigation.
What are transgenic foods?
GMO foods are those that are produced from genetic material from other organisms, with the idea of improving taste, durability and other important characteristics.
These modifications are made through genetic engineering, which is responsible for transforming a food, enhancing and changing traits to obtain a product with superior quality.
To name this type of food, terms such as transgenic and genetically modified organism (GMO) are used.
From a scientific point of view, all GMOs are GMOs but not all GMOs are GMOs, this is because there are other ways to modify the DNA of a living being that are not based on genetic engineering.
For example, corn can be grown with classic agricultural methods to generate changes in the product, these are considered GMOs, while those obtained using exclusively genetic engineering are transgenic.
In agriculture, basic techniques are used to improve specific aspects of plants, which are based on crossing species and selecting the best individuals to create new varieties.
Genetic engineering focuses on the isolation of a gene, transformation and characterization of a product, with laboratory methods and techniques, it is also frequently resorted to introducing a gene from another living being to obtain the desired characteristics.
Thanks to advances in biotechnology, genes can be transferred to different organisms to provide them with qualities that improve the final product.
An example of this are the plants that are genetically intervened to increase their capacity to store water and that are more resistant to times of drought, improvements are also achieved in the vitamin content of the species.
Research on the health effects of transgenic foods is ongoing, some especially susceptible people may be affected by developing allergies or other pathologies.
What are transgenic foods?
There are transgenic species that have been successfully developed in laboratories, although their commercialization has not been consolidated on a large scale.
GMOs in Europe
In Europe, only Bt maize is allowed to grow, a transgenic variety that turns out to be resistant to a specific pest that constantly invades the crop, this food is used only for animal consumption.
The European Union allows the import of transgenic foods such as soybeans, rapeseed and corn, but only as animal feed. For its part, Spain is the leading producer of transgenic products in Europe.
The variety of GMOs that are imported for human consumption are used as part of processed foods. Products that have been genetically modified, but only one extract is used, the final product is not considered to contain genetic material from another organism.
GMOs in the United States and other countries
There are countries that grow or import transgenic products, such as Canada, Australia, Romania, Bulgaria, Argentina, China, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Honduras, among others.
Among the most popular GM crops are apples that do not darken, keeping them looking delicious for days. Sugarcane resistant to insects and long periods of drought.
The United States is the country that leads the lists of genetically modified producers, with the largest number of cultivated hectares and a variety of products obtained, including corn, soybeans, cotton, rapeseed, sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, pumpkin, potatoes and apples.
Brazil is a large producer of transgenic soybean, corn and cotton crops. Other countries with prominent genetically modified food production are Canada and India.
Finally, it is important that any innovation that is carried out for the benefit of humanity is appreciated and exploited to the maximum to take advantage of its advantages.