By Yeimi Tatiana Rey Daza (1st semester undergraduate FIGRI student, level 4 English)
Genetically modified foods, or GMOs, are foods which have had their hereditary genetic traits modified by adding other genetic materials. This genetic material imparts desirable characteristics, such as making fruit or vegetables not as soft, giving them a better color or taste, a greater resistance to plant diseases, or other characteristics.
This modification is done with genetic engineering. The Flavr Savr tomato was one of the first available genetically modified foods, which reduced the softening process and so enabled the tomatoes to ripen without becoming too soft for commercial distribution. However, the product was withdrawn from trade in a short time because of the cost of production. Today there are many transgenic foods like potatoes, corn, coffee, carrots and others.
They have some advantages, such as a greater resistance to insects which minimizes pesticide use and contributes to protecting the environment. Those foods have a slower degradation process which allows consumers to receive fresher food.
However, they have disadvantages too. Those foods could cause allergies because of the substances they contain. The production of these foods can also cause changes in countries' economies, exports and imports.
In 2015 the Constitutional Court said that Colombians have to be able to read on the label what ingredients foods have. Colombians could then choose which foods to eat. It is very important that we know what we are eating every day, because we can choose what the best option is for our health.