These days while doing grocery, we have started to look for seedless fruits. The seeds are a nuisance inside the mouth and particularly so as one can no longer consider spitting those out in our urban spaces. I am carrying a guilt because of this disturbing trend of laziness. Deep inside I know that seedless variety of fruits being against the rule of nature cannot be healthy.
I knew that these are hybrid fruits but not genetically modified and recently carried out a bit of research to understand this better. I learnt that new varieties are created when compatible plants are crossbred. Sometimes this happens in nature due to cross pollination and sometimes it is made to happen on plantation. Grapefruits for example is a hybrid of a pomelo and a sweet orange which were crossbred on plantations in the 18th century. Oranana along with the above image however, is purely my imagination.
In addition to natural and hybrid food, we also have Genetically modified or transgenic food and crops. These food are produce of genetically modified organisms and known as GMO. The majority of GMO are engineered in the laboratory for herbicide tolerance through introduction of toxic chemicals into their genes with the intention to kill weeds or pests.
We would be naive to think that the chemicals that are engineered to kill pests and weeds will not harm mankind. The environment is not safe either as the environmentalists are concerned that GM foods can disrupt the entire food chain.
The creation of hybrid fruits and vegetables create a larger variety, while GMO produce does not add to the available range. The hybrid foods are known to have the following shortcomings as compared to the natural ones.
- They have a higher sugar and starch contents which are not completely absorbed or used by our pancreas and liver.
- The have a mineral imbalance which may lead to mineral balance in our body after consumption over an extended period of time.
- These plants absorb excessive minerals from the soil, making it unsuitable for cultivation.
I also do not want to strangle the efforts of science and engineering as GMO does have some definite advantages if those could be made safe for human consumption. It could help meet our growing demands for food by arresting the loss from weeds, pests and crop diseases. And also save the cost incurred by farmers towards pesticides and herbicides. Bio scientists could also come up with different varieties that would resist drought or frost and save people from starvation.
… till such time it will be prudent to start our own organic farms with strategic ties with partners for successful barter trades.