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More Pros and Cons

So are you good with GMOs? To make your decision, consider these other things.

The Pros

More food: Fans of GMOs say they will help us feed the extra 2 billion people that will fill the planet by 2050. Farmers can grow more food because these plants can live through a drought or cold snap. They aren’t as likely to die from disease.

“Not using these tools would push us back 40 to 50 years in food production,” Bradford says.

Less stress on the environment: Crops made so bugs won’t like them lower farmers’ need for toxic chemical pesticides, Goldstein says. Plants that resist weeds can live in fields that don’t have to be tilled as often. Tilling, or stirring up the dirt, gets rid of weeds, but it also causes dirt to be washed away into streams and rivers.

The Cons

More medical problems: Opponents say that besides possibly leading to cancer, GMOs can cause new allergies and hurt the effects of antibiotics. But no studies confirm this.

The rise of "superweeds": Crops built to survive weed killer could breed with weeds. These “superweeds” would also survive. Farmers would have to use more and more and stronger pesticide to keep up.

Inventing new weed killers is hard and expensive. Plus, people worry about the safety of new chemicals that haven’t been tested as much as older ones. On the other hand, people say this is nothing new.

Where Can You Find Non-Genetically Modified Food?

The movement to have non-modified food options is picking up some traction. Some food companies voluntarily label their foods as non-GMO. At least one fast food chain has pledged to take genetically modified foods off their menu. And at least one grocery store chain is working to label possible GMO foods in the coming years.

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