Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
Summer 2010Vol. 5, Issue 1
GM Crops Proliferate, Raising Global Hopes and Fears


GE Crops Are Here to Stay, But Do Their Purported Benefits Outweigh Their Potential Risks?

Last year, 158 million acres of genetically engineered (GE) crops were grown across the United States, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a nonprofit that monitors these crops.  Among the GE varieties harvested were 85 percent of all U.S. corn, 91 percent of all U.S. soybeans, and 88 percent of all U.S. upland cotton, reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Most of the field corn and soybeans were used for animal feed and industrial purposes (such as corn for ethanol production).  Some of them were also used to produce popular food ingredients such as corn oil, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and corn meal, ensuring that the majority of Americans currently consume everyday foods with ingredients made from engineered crops.

Since their debut in the 1990s, GE, or biotech, crops have become part of mainstream agriculture in the United States, and many other developed and developing countries.  Their advent has not been without controversy and concern for human health, and critics, as well as devotees, are plentiful.  To date, however, the risks raised have not materialized.  And while not all the merits touted by the developers have emerged either, significant benefits have been documented, and adoption of GE crops is on the rise worldwide.   

[See Full Lead Article]

Biotech Crops Gain Global Foothold

Genetically engineered, or modified, foods are a mainstay in middle America.  In fact, the United States is the number-one producer of transgenic crops, and experts say that as much as 60 to 70 percent of processed foods on U.S. grocery shelves contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients.  While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate GM foods and applies the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure that foods made from biotech crops are safe for human and animal consumption, it,does not require food from GM animals or plants to be labeled as such.

In many other countries, genetically engineered (GE), foods are controversial, micromanaged, and even banned.  Europe, in particular, has been ground zero for heated debate, and recent protests in India emphasize that GM foods are hardly a foregone conclusion.  Yet, worldwide production of such crops, and demand for them, is on the rise. 

[See Full Spotlight Article]

Copyright © 2008 Center for Communications, Health and the Environment (CECHE)
Dr. Sushma Palmer, Program Director
Valeska Stupak, Editorial & Design Consultant
Shiraz Mahyera, Systems Manager
Daniel Hollingsworth, Website Consultant