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Surprising Science

Genetically Modified Foods Engineered to Make You Healthier

When Californians head to the polls this November, they will decide if genetically modified foods should be labeled as such. Meanwhile, scientists are engineering foods to make us healthier. 

What’s the Latest Development?

While the debate continues over the safety of genetically modified foods, scientists have taken steps to engineer animals and produce in ways that benefit human health. In 2006, a team of researchers modified a litter of piglets to make their muscle rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may protect against cancer and heart disease. In 2007, scientists in South Dakota announced they had switched off the gene that codes for mad cow-producing proteins. In 2008, British researchers modified the tomato by adding a pigment found in cranberries which is believed to protect against cancer…

What’s the Big Idea?

When Californians go to the polls this November, they will decide whether genetically modified foods should be labeled as such when they are sold in supermarkets. While the European Union has recognized the right of shoppers to make informed decisions about their food by labeling GMOs since 1997, America’s FDA has consistently rejected labeling proposals. The debate in the US has largely been provoked by AquaBounty salmon, which are engineered to grow to twice the size, and at twice the rate, of unmodified salmon. The results in California may set a new legal model for activists in other states. 

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