Food plays an important role in human’s life. Many people concern about the quality of the food that they consume every day. In the variety of market, there are different types of food which we can find the difference on its label. In order to understand these terms, this essay will define what GMO, organic and free-range food are and also discuss about the controversy of organic food more nutritious than conventionally grown food.
First, according to dictionary.com, GMOs is the abbreviation for Genetically Modified Organism and defined as an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering. In other words, GMOs is food which is produced from organisms that have changed in their DNA. This has been manipulated in laboratory through genetic engineering. This method will create a new combination of plants with animals, viruses, and bacteria for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and better nutrient profile. This process will not happen in nature or in the traditional crossbreeding, or selective method. Zilberman (2018) states that the purpose of this method is to increase farmer safety by allowing them to use less pesticide, lower the price of food and fewer people would die of hunger. Here are some examples of GMO crops which are currently approved in the U.S according to gmoanswer.com: Apple (non-browning); cotton, sweet corn, summer squash (insect resistance, herbicide tolerance); rainbow papaya (disease resistance); potato (reduced bruising and black spot, non-browning, low acrylamide, blight resistance).
Second, we will discuss about organic food. The USDA National Organic Program (defines organic as follows: Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. In other words, organic crops are grown without any supporting elements such as pesticides or fertilizers and organic animal are raised without using antibiotic or hormone. For example, organic tomatoes are grown with natural fertilizers such as manuring and composting or pig is grown freely without using hormone. This method is more close to the nature because there is less of using chemicals into landfill. The United States Department of Agriculture has strict requirements on organic product labeling. Organic products usually get a higher price comparing to conventionally grown food but there is an ongoing public concern that if organic food more nutritious than conventionally grown food. At this time, it is difficult to answer this question because it also depends on many factors such as: seeds, soil type, climate, and crop variety. There is a fact that when it comes to organic food, you have to pay an extra amount of money for it. Michael Greger (2017) states that hundreds of studies have been reviewed and researchers didn’t find significant differences for most of the traditional nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Third, what is free-range food? Wikipedia(2018) states that free range denotes a method of farming husbandry where the animals, for at least part of the day, can roam freely outdoors, rather than being confined in an enclosure for 24 hours each day. Free range may apply to meat, eggs or dairy farming. In other words, free range is when animal have the access to outdoor space without being capture in cages for a whole day. In the U.S, when we talk about free-range products, it refers to poultry such as chicken. For example, when we go to supermarket and see eggs with the label “free-range”, it means these eggs are produced by birds that may permitted outdoor. There is a debate between free-cage and free-range. Cage-free simply means the birds are not kept in cages, but they are kept indoors. To be called “free-range”, they must be allowed outdoors.
In conclusion, GMO, organic, and free-range are terms which used in labeling the food that we consume every day. In short, GMO is genetically engineered food; organic food must not contain hormones, antibiotics, synthetic pesticides, irradiated components, GMO-free; free-range food are products such as dairy, eggs, meat from animal is allowed outdoors. There is also having some public concern about nutrition between organic and conventionally grown food that we need to deep more into it to understand.
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