Modern consumer society pampers its customers with different choices. The variety of food supply also does not become an exception in this abundance. Nowadays, consumers can opt for anything they prefer: genetically modified food, organic food, etc. However, the widespread tendency among them is to choose in favor of not what is tasty and profitable, but what is safe. In order to make sure that the choice is right, it is substantial to have a good understanding of genetically engineered and organic foods and be aware of the main features which differentiate them.
Firstly, it is the way of producing and processing the food. The system of organic food production is based on the minimization of chemical substances usage. Due to organic standards, it is not allowed to fertilize the land with any hazardous substances three years before growing the crop. Applying of these substances to the crop itself and genetically modifying it are prohibited as well (Anderson, Wachenheim, & Lesch, 2006). Genetic modification supposes the movement of genetic materials from one organism to another in order to create the new organisms with optimal features. As a result, the plants become pest- and disease-resistant, herbicide-tolerant, cold- and draught-resistant (Whitman, 2000).
Secondly, another distinguishing feature of organic and genetically modified foods is their impact on environment. On the one hand, at the expense of genetic engineering, the amount of yield increases, thereby helping solve the problem of food supply shortage in the world. On the other hand, genetic engineering may cause dramatic changes to the environment. According to a study by Stanford, people who eat genetically modified food are not the only ones to bear the side effect of it. The crop processed with pesticides contaminates surrounding soil, water, and air. Moreover, it also affects wildlife. Organic food production, as opposed to genetically modified one, is harmless and tolerant to nature (Imus, 2012).
Thirdly, the both types of food: genetically engineered and organic make contribution to the health of its consumers. Consumption of organic food improves human health and enriches the body with vitamins. Furthermore, it stimulates the cleaning of the toxins and has an impact on the feeling of well-being. A scientific research study from journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences reveals that organically grown foods contain an average of 12% more healthy elements, than other food types do, which is claimed to prevent cases of cancer, obesity, and heart disease (Imus, 2012). In contrast to it, genetically modified food may cause serious troubles to the human body. The most shocking is the fact that its influence is hard to predict. New genes introduced to the crop may be the source of new allergens, which provoke an allergic reaction in some individuals. In some cases, modified food may cause serious diseases, including cancer (Whitman, 2000). The impact of pesticides on children’s organisms is also detrimental. For example, in 2010, the study in the journal Pediatrics included investigations of such pesticides as organophosphates. The survey inferred the deficit of hyperactivity disorder in children who were exposed to these pesticides. In 2011, the studies published in Environmental Health Perspectives proved that children’s exposure to organophosphates in the womb led to a decline in their IQ level during their growing up (Imus, 2012).
The differences between genetically modified food and organic food seem clear. Therefore, it is essential to have conscientious attitude to this issue. People should keep in mind that every time they buy genetically modified food, they encourage its mass production. In addition, the consequences of it may be quite serious, as they refer not only to a separate family, community, or a country but also to the whole world. The technology of genetically modified food production reaches global scale and it will be hard to stop it. That is why people should at least try to limit it.