The third world countries have been facing a high rate of deaths that could have been prevented by adding the common vitamin supplements into the diets of those individuals who are in need. However, this is a huge undertaking that requires a lot of funding and donations. It simply cannot be done right now at the scale that is required in order to save lives. However, there are a couple of alternatives for battling this issue and they include genetically modified foods. In this case, that would be bananas.
Bananas are already hailed as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are rich in carbohydrates and therefore, they are a great source of energy. Besides that, bananas contain a number of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin B6 and manganese. All of these are simply essential when it comes to having a healthy metabolism and a strong body. But what if we could improve the levels of the nutrients in bananas and create the ultimate superfood? Well, with the technology we have today, we actually can.
Vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem in undeveloped countries and a group of researchers who were inspired by golden rice that is still feeding millions of people worldwide, providing them with plenty of energy and nutrients, decided to take a closer look at the ways they could genetically modify bananas. They were successful and managed to add higher levels of vitamin A into a standard banana.
The general plan is to try to cultivate this GMO plant in Uganda and the surrounding countries because the climate there will help the plants grow faster. Plus, this would provide an easier access to genetically modified bananas for everyone in need. The levels of vitamin A in a single banana meet the daily needs and that means you will need to eat just one in order to prevent the vitamin deficiency.
On the other hand, scientists who are working on this project are very aware of the possible backlash this banana might receive from those who are afraid of GMO or oppose modifications. They do point out that this is not a true GMO product – they didn’t introduce any foreign DNA to the banana but simply enriched what was already inside. Sure enough, it was produced in a laboratory, but the structure of the fruit remained the same. The only visible difference is in the color of the banana peel – standard bananas are green or yellow, while enriched bananas are a bit orange.
But just like every genetically modified food, the enriched banana simply have to go through testing and need to get the final approval from the FDA. Since these trials take time, it is unlikely that we will get the answer in the next two years. All in all, the researchers who are a driving force behind this project are hoping that they will be able to start planting these bananas by 2020.
If they deliver just a fraction of the golden rice results, the death rate due to vitamin deficiency will greatly decrease. Golden rice has saved millions of lives all around the globe. Enriched banana is a superb idea that might actually work if they get the green light from the authorities who are governing the food safety, production, and distribution.
Enriched bananas have received plenty of support and public seems to be generally interested in this project. The majority of comments are positive and all we need to do right now is wait and see what FDA has to say. It seems like enriched bananas might be the answer we were looking for to solve this serious problem.