Genetically Modified Foods or GMOs have been the subject of many controversies for quite some time. Where genetic modification has greatly contributed to the production of better food crops, its consumption is a lot more questionable.
What Are Genetically Modified Foods?
Genetically modified foods are those that are derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetic modifying of plants or animals involves altering some characters in their genes. Alteration in genes leads to better yield, improved quality, and resistance from diseases. Genetically modified crops are resistant to pests, insects, and can withstand drought as well as other climatic conditions. This way, the yield, and quality of the crop improve greatly, decreasing the need for maintenance and increasing overall production. GMO’s came to the market in the late 1990s. The most produced GMOs were from soya bean, canola, cottonseed, and corn oil. Later, GMO animal products also came to the market.
How Can The GMOs Be Harmful?
Genetic modification is not a bad thing. Farmers and crop growers have been practicing some form of genetic modification on their crops for hundreds of years. Mixing seeds of two different varieties for better crop quality is the oldest, simplest, and harmless type of genetic modification.
Genetically modifying crops or trees by artificial engineering may give the best quality of the crop, pest resistance, and a significant increase in crop yield that farmers cannot achieve by conventional methods. However, genetic modification can lead to drastic changes in the environment.
Moreover, consuming GMO foods can lead to health issues too. As the plant or animal is genetically modified, it can contain proteins and various substances that trigger an allergic reaction — the allergic reactions due to GMO food consumption range from simple and harmless to very severe and fatal. There have been several cases reported in which GMO foods have caused severe diseases and even death.
Are Pecans Genetically Modified?
Pecans in the US are not GMOs. Although there are over hundreds of pecan varieties, none of them is the result of any type of artificially engineered genetic modification. The new pecan varieties are from the result of conventional, non-genetic breeding methods. One such method is grafting. Many farmers rely on this method to produce different pecan varieties. All the varieties are derived from the native pecans that naturally grew in North America centuries ago.
Commercial pecan growers in the US do not produce genetically modified pecans because there is absolutely no need to. Different pecan varieties grow in different states according to what conditions each variety can withstand. In addition, the right type of soil and adequate amount of water is enough to ensure good quality and high yield, so there is no need to produce genetically modified pecans for better quality.
The American Pecan Council does not support the growing and selling of genetically modified pecans in the present and near future.