GM (Genetically Modified) foods have been mired in controversy, ever since it was first made available through the commercial scale in the 1990s when the Calgene company began testing the effectiveness of genetically engineered canola, marketed under the trade name Laurical, as a possible and cheaper alternative for canola, palm and coconut oil. Not only was the engineered oil healthier but it was also found to be commercially more viable /profitable than any existing natural product (Newton, 2009: p.111). As the effectiveness of GM foods gained attention to the sales and production of the same exploded across the United States. It is estimated that between the period 1996 to 2002, the growth of GM crops increased exponentially by almost 3000 percent and by 2004, 99 percent of all crops grown in as many as six countries worldwide were genetically engineered (Newton, 2009: p. 6).
Consensus on GM foods being good or bad for human consumption is largely divided within the international community. With one side emphasizing and insisting on its significance based on factors such as cost benefits, commercial viability, shortage of food supply and pollution, and the other vehemently opposing the same on the grounds of its real nutritional value, vulnerability of children, negative implications on biodiversity and other unintended side effects brought on due to insertion of modified gene. the debate is a significant one since it is likely to have wide ranging implications on human civilization as a whole.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines genetically modified foods as foods that are "derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g., through the introduction of a gene from a different organism" (WHO, 2015). Whether such food is beneficial or detrimental to human health is a matter of constant debate between groups with widely differing opinions.