Frankenstein. I believe that many of us are familiar with the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley, illustrating the scientist Frankenstein creating a living creature from non-living parts. The creature in the story has been described as a monster and unnatural. Nowadays, this word is being associated with another invention โ€“ genetically modified foods.

Hello friends! ๐Ÿ˜Š Welcome back to my blog! Today, I will be discussing genetically modified organisms โ€“ GMOs for short, and its impact on the environment. Since the 1990s, the cultivation of GMOs has been commercialized, where food crops are engineered to possess more desirable traits; popular crops include cotton, maize, and soybeans.

Opponents of GMOs have labelled GMOs as Frankenfoods, describing how the food was genetically altered, a mash-up of different foods. The word carries a negative connotation, suggesting that GMOs are something to be feared.

Why is this so?

Some members of the public are against GMOs as they perceive GMOs to be unsafe for consumption. Environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and the Non-GMO Projectย also believe that GMOs have detrimental effects on the environment, such as causing populations of wildlife to decline and degradation of soil and water quality.

On the other hand, proponents of GMOs believe that GMOs can be more beneficial than conventional crops as they require less synthetic pesticides, thus reducing pollution of nearby water bodies with nondegradable pesticides that contribute towards bioaccumulation in marine wildlife. They also believe that pest-resistant GMOs are only lethal for the pests and do not affect other non-target organisms. Many studies suggest that GMOs are safe for human consumption, hence considering its higher yield and nutritional value, some scientists believe it can contribute to global food security.

So, which side of this long-standing controversy do you support? Is GMOs the solution to global food security or the bane of the environment?

For this post, I wanted to examine how much of my weekly diet consisted of GMOs. I was, however, met with an obstacle. In Singapore, it is not compulsory for the packaging of foods to label if they contain GMOs, making it hard for me to accurately calculate my consumption of GMOs. Out of curiosity, I visited the supermarket to attempt to find out how many products are labelled. While I could not find food items that explicitly stated that they used GMO ingredients, I could find many that promoted the absence of GMOs in their products.

Items I found labelled as ‘Non-GMO’

I researched more about the lack of transparency of labelling GM food products and found that although it is not compulsory in many other countries too, there is debate on whether this labelling should be mandatory. Those who do not support mandatory labelling argue that it may lead to higher cost and may deter potential customers for buying the product. However, many advocate for mandatory labelling as they believe that consumers have the right to know what is going into their stomachs. Furthermore, not labelling might amplify the idea that GMOs are unsafe, as consumers may wonder why manufacturers are unwilling to disclose if their ingredients include GMOs.

So, on your next grocery trip, you can try to keep an eye out to see how many โ€˜GMOโ€™ or โ€˜Non-GMOโ€™ labels you can spot!


Alicia ๐Ÿ˜Š

2 thoughts on “Frankenfoods

  1. Hi Alicia,

    Another great example of what this blog assignment is supposed to be about. I love how you present both sides of the argument as a premise to do your own self-exploration and then describe the huge barrier you encountered to doing that and what it means.

    Very, very clever & thoughtful approach with loads of individuality.

    You might be interested in asking Prof CHEW Fook Tim (DBS) for a quick chat. Some of his work has involved genetically modifying oil palms to yield more oil per seed. I believe may be willing to share his knowledge & opinions of GMOs in general.


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