International Research Journals
Reach Us +44-7897-074717

African Journal of Food Science and Technology

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.

Short Communication - African Journal of Food Science and Technology ( 2024) Volume 15, Issue 3

Catalina Sparleanu*
Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan, Belgium
*Corresponding Author:
Catalina Sparleanu, Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, Email:

Received: 01-Mar-2024 Published: 27-Mar-2024


In today's world, discussions around food are often accompanied by debates on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically modified foods (GMFs). Despite their prevalence in the global food market, GMOs remain a topic of controversy, with many misconceptions surrounding their safety, environmental impact, and necessity. In this article, we aim to debunk some of the myths surrounding genetically modified foods and shed light on the science behind biotechnology.

Genetically modified foods are products derived from organisms whose genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally through mating or natural recombination. This alteration is achieved through the process of genetic engineering, where specific genes are inserted, modified, or deleted to impart desirable traits to the organism (Bailey-Serres J, et al., 2019 & Black RE et al., 2013).

Debunking myths

One of the most pervasive myths surrounding GMOs is their alleged danger to human health. However, numerous scientific studies conducted over the past few decades have consistently shown that genetically modified foods approved for consumption are as safe, if not safer, than their non-modified counterparts. Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) rigorously assess the safety of GMOs before they are approved for commercial use (Eş I, et al., 2019 & Foley JA et al., 2011).

Contrary to popular belief, genetically modified crops have the potential to benefit the environment in several ways. For instance, some GMOs are engineered to be resistant to pests or tolerant to herbicides, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides. This can lead to lower chemical usage, decreased environmental pollution, and a smaller carbon footprint associated with agricultural practices. Additionally, certain genetically modified crops are designed to require less water or thrive in harsher environmental conditions, contributing to sustainable agriculture practices (Giraldo PA, et al., 2019 & Hanjra M et al., 2010).

There is a misconception that the widespread cultivation of genetically modified crops can lead to a loss of biodiversity. However, GMOs are just one tool in the agricultural toolkit, and their adoption does not inherently result in a reduction of biodiversity. In fact, by improving crop yields and reducing the need for agricultural expansion into natural habitats, GMOs can help alleviate pressure on ecosystems and preserve biodiversity.

Critics of GMOs often argue that they primarily benefit large agricultural corporations at the expense of small-scale farmers and consumers. While it's true that some GMOs are developed and marketed by multinational companies, there are also examples of genetically modified crops developed by public research institutions or small biotechnology companies with the aim of addressing specific agricultural challenges. Moreover, the adoption of GMOs by farmers can lead to increased yields, reduced production costs, and improved livelihoods, especially in developing countries where food security is a pressing issue.

Understanding the science behind biotechnology

The process of genetic modification involves several techniques, each tailored to achieve specific outcomes. One common method is the use of recombinant DNA technology, where desired genes are identified, isolated, and inserted into the genome of the target organism. This can confer traits such as resistance to pests, tolerance to herbicides, or enhanced nutritional content.

Another technique, known as genome editing, allows for precise modifications to the DNA of an organism without the introduction of foreign genes. Techniques like CRISPR-Cas9 have revolutionized genome editing, enabling scientists to make targeted changes with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency (Myers SS, et al., 2017 & Pingali PL 2012).

Benefits of genetic modification

Genetic modification holds immense potential for addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing agriculture and food security today. By introducing traits such as pest resistance, drought tolerance, or enhanced nutritional content, GMOs can help improve crop yields, reduce agricultural inputs, and mitigate the effects of climate change on food production.

For example, genetically modified crops such as Bt cotton, which produces an insecticidal protein toxic to certain pests, have helped farmers reduce pesticide use and increase yields. Similarly, biofortified crops, which are genetically engineered to contain higher levels of essential nutrients such as vitamin A or iron, hold promise for combating malnutrition in vulnerable populations.

Regulatory oversight

Despite the scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified foods, regulatory oversight is crucial to ensure that GMOs are developed and deployed responsibly. Regulatory agencies around the world assess the safety of GMOs based on rigorous scientific evidence, evaluating factors such as potential allergenicity, toxicity, and environmental impact (Premanandh J 2011 & Sharma R et al., 2018).


In conclusion, genetically modified foods have the potential to address some of the most pressing challenges facing agriculture and food security. By debunking myths and understanding the science behind biotechnology, we can foster informed discussions and decision-making around the role of GMOs in our food system. With proper regulatory oversight and continued scientific innovation, genetically modified foods can contribute to a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable food future.


Bailey-Serres J, Parker JE, Ainsworth EA, Oldroyd GE, & Schroeder JI (2019). Genetic strategies for improving crop yields. Nature; 575(7781):109-118.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Black RE, Victora CG, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, et al. (2013). Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The lancet; 382(9890): 427-451.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Eş I, Gavahian M, Marti-Quijal FJ, Lorenzo JM, Khaneghah AM,et al. (2019). The application of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing machinery in food and agricultural science: Current status, future perspectives, and associated challenges.Biotechnol Adv; 37(3):410-421.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Foley JA, Ramankutty N, Brauman KA, Cassidy ES, Gerber JS, et al. (2011). Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature; 478(7369) 337-342.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Giraldo PA, Shinozuka H, Spangenberg GC, Cogan NO & Smith KF (2019). Safety Assessment Of Genetically Modified Feed: Is There Any Difference From Food? Front Plant Sci; 10, 1592.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Hanjra M & Qureshi M (2010) Global water crisis and future food security in an era of climate change. Food Policy; 35: 365–377.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Myers SS, Smith MR, Guth S, Golden CD, Vaitla B, et al. (2017). Climate change and global food systems: potential impacts on food security and undernutrition. Annu Rev Public Health; 38:259-277.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Pingali PL (2012). Green revolution: impacts, limits, and the path ahead. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A;109(31):12302-8.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Premanandh J (2011). Global consensus—Need of the hour for genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling. J Commer Biotechnol; 17: 37–44.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Sharma R, Nguyen TT, & Grote U (2018). Changing consumption patterns—Drivers and the environmental impact. Sustainability; 10(11): 4190.

Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref