Yesterday at a dinner party, we were talking about genetically modified crops (often abbreviated as GMOs, i.e. genetically modified organism). A friend said GMO foods in the US have to be labeled which surprised me. That was not my understanding.
So today I spent a considerable amount of time reading about GMO online to get myself more informed and educated and to share it with others.
GMO crops are simply crops, whose genetical material has been modified using generic engineering techniques.
The use of genetic engineering in agriculture is rather new. The first genetically modified food produced for mass production appeared in the U.S. in 1993.
Some little-known facts about GMOs I found are:
- GMO ingredients are now present in 75 to 80 percent of conventional processed food in the U.S., according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
- Mandatory labeling of GMOs in the U. S. has been proposed, but not enacted, at the national, state, and local levels.
- The FDA does not require food with GMOs to be labeled as such.
- Most people want to avoid GMOs but it is virtually impossible to do so, since the government prevents GMO labeling.
- GMOs are banned or significantly restricted in 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all of the nations in the European Union.
- Unfortunately, because of cross-contamination and pollen drift, very few products in the U.S. are completely free of GMOs.
- The largest share of the GMO crops planted globally are owned by the US firm Monsanto, based in Creve Coeur, Missouri. As the leading producer of genetically engineered seeds, Monsanto sells 90% of the world’s GE seeds.
- This October is the first ever Non-GMO Month!
Here are some websites for further reading and information: