Scientists employing methods of genetic engineering have developed a new group of living organisms, termed 'modified organisms', which found application in, among others, medicine, the pharmaceutical industry and food distribution. The introduction of transgenic products to the food market resulted in them becoming a controversial topic, with their proponents and contestants. The presented study aims to systematize objective data on the potential benefits and risks resulting from the consumption of transgenic food. Genetic modifications of plants and animals are justified by the potential for improvement of the food situation worldwide, an increase in yield crops, an increase in the nutritional value of food, and the development of pharmaceutical preparations of proven clinical significance. In the opinions of critics, however, transgenic food may unfavourably affect the health of consumers. Therefore, particular attention was devoted to the short- and long-lasting undesirable effects, such as alimentary allergies, synthesis of toxic agents or resistance to antibiotics. Examples arguing for the justified character of genetic modifications and cases proving that their use can be dangerous are innumerable. In view of the presented facts, however, complex studies are indispensable which, in a reliable way, evaluate effects linked to the consumption of food produced with the application of genetic engineering techniques. Whether one backs up or negates transgenic products, the choice between traditional and non-conventional food remains to be decided exclusively by the consumers.