Genetically modified foods are also known as bio-engineered or genetically engineered foods. They are food products usually commercially produced for public consumption that have been altered with the genetic material from another organism. The organism that is donating its genetic material may be an animal, a plant or a micro organism. In terms of public consumption when describing genetically modified organisms (also known as GMOs) it is usually plants that are altered and modified to enhance traits that are desired or advantageous in some way. Examples of such desired traits are: a resistance to herbicides and pesticides, increased nutritional content and an improved tolerance to the effects of adverse weather conditions. In the past,
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The technology has progressed to the point that genes can be transferred from plant to plant and animals or organisms to plants. The first genetically modified food that was grown specifically for commercial production was in 1994. It was a tomato which was altered to become ripe without first softening. Since then there have been numerous crops that have been grown and genetically modified for public consumption.
The world's population (which is now significantly above six billion people) is poised to escalate in the coming decades. Providing a sufficient food supply for future generations is a major concern for most governments around the world. Genetically modified foods, due to their potential resistive capacity, give the promise of larger crops and longer shelf lives of food in general. This would mean a definite increase in world food supply which will lower the price of food in many cases, making it more accessible to poorer communities and developing countries. Proponents of GMO's argue that this resulting decrease in the price of food could be the catalyst needed to reduce world hunger, and go a long way in stopping disease and poverty from the resulting increase in the disposable cash of the world's poor. The reality however, is that the monetary cost to bring a genetically modified food to market is prohibitive