What are transgenic foods?

Transgenic foods are foods that include in their composition some ingredient from an organism into which a genetically engineered gene from another species has been incorporated. Thanks to biotechnology, a gene can be transferred from one organism to another in order to provide it with some special quality it lacks. In this way, transgenic plants can resist pests, withstand droughts, or better resist some herbicides. In Europe, not all types of GMOs are authorised, only some of them can be cultivated and subsequently marketed.

Since their birth, transgenics have been the subject of much controversy. There are fanatical followers and unrelenting detractors. For example, Juan Felipe Carrasco, agronomist and responsible for Greenpeace’s Campaign against GMOs in Spain, believes that “industrial agriculture, which is currently being sold to us as one that produces food for all humanity, unfortunately, is also producing a great deal of irreversible damage“.

What science thinks about transgenics

For Carrasco,”it is not true that science is in favor of transgenics,” adding that “those of us who are against transgenics are not against the science of the future, we are against the release of transgenics into the environment. For Greenpeace, transgenics increase the use of toxic substances in agriculture, biodiversity loss, health risks are not assessed, etc. However, Francisco García Olmedo, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, thinks the opposite. “Transgenics are the greatest innovation in food production that has been made in the last 25 years and there has not been a single adverse incident for human health or the environment,” he explained during the last edition of MadridFusión 2010.

In any case, whatever the consumer’s final choice, it is not superfluous to know which products contain genetically modified organisms. To this end, Greenpeace has developed the “Green and Red Guide to Transgenic Foods”. The green list includes those products whose manufacturers have guaranteed that they do not use GMOs or their derivatives in their ingredients or additives. In the red are those products for which Greenpeace can guarantee that they do not contain transgenics.