beckster17's picture
Isn’t the produce department in my grocery store full of products from GMOs?

A:Expert Answer

Actually, only a few products in the produce aisle are GMOs―some sweet corn, some summer squash and some papayas.


There is currently a total of eight GM crops commercially available in the United States: corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and summer squash.   


Processed foods like sugar or vegetable oil may carry ingredients from GM crops, but the modified features of the crop are not present in the food and do not change the safety or nutritional values of the food.

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rickspalding's picture

What kind of comment is this? I have the impression you don't know much about GMO. It is everywhere. Every processed food has GMO, we are talking liquors to cheese to vitamins. Only way to avoid it is to to avoid processed and prepackaged foods.

A Better World Erger-Jarvis's picture

No...the produce department is not full of GMO produce. The major GMO products are corn, soy, sugar beet and canola. These crops end up on the shelves as processed food ingredients and are also used as biofuel and animal feed. Papaya (from Hawaii), squash (some varieties of yellow crookneck squash) are the ones that may be in the produce department.

pj's picture

Rick, it is you who don't know much about GMOs. The question was about the PRODUCE department and at least in my grocery store, there are no vitamins, liquor, cheese or prepackaged products in the produce department, unless you count bottled dressings which are kind of between dairy and produce. It has fresh fruit and vegetables. In reality, however, you can't reliably avoid all GMOs by staying away from processed and prepackaged foods. Many vegetable varieties are produced with genetic modification. Purple caulifower and brocolini come to mind. It is the process of creating a hybrid that determines if it is a GMO; species that will cross in nature are not GMOs, those that are created by deliberate gene insertion are GMOs.

Beth Henggeler's picture

A quick Google search will show that purple cauliflower or any color of cauliflower have been developed by traditional cross breeding methods, and are not genetically engineered.
Broccolini is also a hybrid

danalee's picture

There is very little GMO produce sold in stores as most of it is not designed for taste, rather it is used to be processed into something else.
However, there are still some produce items to avoid as they can be GMO:
zucchini, papaya from Hawaii, sweet corn, yellow crookneck and straight neck squash

GMO Free America's picture

"Groundbreaking investigation reveals Monsanto teaming up with US military to target GMO activists" The report, which recently appeared in the July 13 print edition of Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), explains in rigorous detail how both individuals and groups opposed to GMOs and other chemical-based crop technologies have been threatened, hacked, slandered and terrorized for daring to digress from the pro-GMO status quo. On numerous documented occasions, pertinent information about the dangers of GMOs or lack of GMO safety data has been effectively blocked from timely release by mysterious forces that many say are the chemical industry in disguise. ( - as posted on GMO Free America on Facebook

KamotsDakota's picture

The Answer is very simple - Unknown.
Without Labeling requirements, one cannot tell. However, this is not the area you should be worried about.

Andi Robinson's picture

GMO Free America - exactly what does your post have to do with the question?

Grace Joubarne's picture

The point is that when a company does not want to be transparent, refuses to give us a free choice, you simply cannot trust that company. What have they got to hide...if its safe, let us decide. Tricking people does not mean they agree. It just means that someday, they will learn the truth and be outraged. But it seems that Monsanto Protection Act has diminished the possibility that the outrage can be expressed in a court of law ... thus if any of us take a chance on GMOs and the inevitable illness occurs, there is no hope for help or compensation. Fool me once, shame on you Monsanto, fool me twice, shame on me. People are looking around and finding that where Monsanto and friends go, devastation, ill health and evaporation of their democratic rights appear.

Doug Huffman's picture

One of the challenges of this controversy; just what is genetic modification/manipulation?

Teosinte has been genetically changed to maize/corn. There are 13,000 cultivars of Oryza sativa, that is rice. That is one cultivar per year since first domestication.

Montana Farmer's picture

Two new apple varieties from Canada are GMO and approval is pending in the US. Many other apple varieties will most likely become GMO now that the gene that keeps apples from browning has been discovered and successfully inserted.

Joshua Udall's picture

Danalee - unless it is something the NYTimes got wrong, most sweet corn is NOT GMO. This article has some great background"

Joshua Udall's picture

Grace, There are some great efforts to use GMOs to fix real agricultural problems or address a niche in the market. See the link to Oranges in the NYTimes above. Many such efforts are not initiated by Monsanto, nor do they have anything to do with the company. Here, we are not defending, promoting, nor attcking Monsanto. Please don't let your anti-Monsanto bias cloud the conversation regarding the science of GMOs.

The Man Above's picture

High fructose corn syrup.

Do your homework.

Community Manager's picture

RE: Joshua Udall
Thanks for your voice of reason/comment. It's true - we want to discuss biotechnology - GMO - and all personal feelings regarding companies aside - let's talk about the uses of GMOs. Thanks for your comment.

lucyinthesky's picture

Commenting on the answer given above...
It was stated in the answer that processed foods like sugar or vegetable oil may carry ingredients from GM crops, but the modified features of the crop are not present in the food and do not change the safety or nutritional values of the food.


Community Manager's picture

RE: Beth Henggeler
Yes, you are correct. The 8 crops listed are the only GMOs and that purple cauliflower is not. Thanks for posting and sharing the link.

achood4mu's picture

@lucyinthesky - seems like you have some good questions about the differnce between genenticall modified crops and the food that results from them. You should ask more about that from an expert.

Gmono's picture

Can you tell me all the crops for which Patents are submitted? I don't care whether they are commercially available or not. I want to know all produce ( if there are trials/patent pending/ trials started but stopped/ fruits/veggies/grains ).

Cornlover's picture

Check out the EU site it should have the answers.

corn doctor's picture

my college-aged daughter responded to my sending her some references for information on GMO's with....Great! I have been working really closely the past week with a good friend of mine who is taking a biology course this summer. He is writing a paper on the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms. He is looking both at the environmental impact and the impact on human health. We were both shocked at the amount of misinformation out there!! The moral of the story is check your sources carefully….lots of media out there guilty of some serious yellow journalism on this subject and it will only hurt us all if we, as consumers, are uninformed about this. Don’t trust something as important as this to the negative sensationalists and the people who just want to make a buck off of you.

Community Manager's picture

@Corn doctor – thanks for your comment. Completely agree with you that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Feel free to submit questions as you continue learning more about GMOs. The explore section of this website also provides additional background information.
You may find the "How GMOs are created" video in the Basics section interesting.

Chyatt's picture

Alan have you read the US President's Annual Cancer Panel Report from 2008-2009 linking pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used on GMO crops to cancers and diseases?
There comes a point in your life where you have to do what's right. Is defending Biotech companies really what you feel is right? I'm not a scientist but a person with common sense that also understands the law of cause and effect. Biotech companies cannot keep depleting the soil of nutrients with mono-crops and spraying toxic chemicals without ill effects on humans and the environment. This fact is also stated in the US President's Cancer Panel Report. GMOs are now present in 75 to 80 percent of conventional processed food in the U.S., according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association

Community Manager's picture

Thanks @Chyatt. One of our experts is currently reviewing your previously submitted question which addresses the 2008-2009 President's Cancer Panel Report (submitted here:
We’ll share a link to the response once it is posted, thanks for your participation.

flsptradr's picture

What's to say? So much dis-informational pro-GMO spin, subterfuge, subject steering, point evasion, professional argument crafting, etc. etc. etc. This site will only work with those who are the absolute least aware of anything at all. Here are some points for the VERY INFORMED (and currently UN-FOOLED): 1. GMOs have not been tested except by those with vested conflicts of interest in the billions of dollars that they bring to the pockets of huge soulless corporations who will do ANYTHING to make not just a buck, but BILLIONS. 2. The regulating agencies (FDA, EPA, etc.) that are supposed to be acting as watchdogs for the consumer to insure the safety of GMOs are merely ex-presidents and other ex-employees of the companies being supposedly regulated (foxes watching the hen-houses). 3. Pro GMO forces love to quote the FDA for saying this or that about safety, like the FDA has any actual truth or credibility left in it, after having been completely infiltrated and owned by Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Big Biotech. Only after discovering how many outraged people are showing up to oppose their heavy handed down our throats cramming of their dangerous pseudo-"foods", did they finally get around to doing a little PR work in creating this pro-GMO propaganda site in order to spin the public opinion in their own direction. Too little, too late. The damage has already been done by all the years of deceitful, opaque, arrogant, behind the scenes deal making, and the undermining of public trust in our overseeing government agencies. You can play like it's all still good, but the tide is turning toward truth and accountability. Good luck, guys!

SaveMyFood's picture

"...but the modified features of the crop are not present in the food"

What about the chemicals that were poured over them? Can't wash that off or process it out of the foods. People, do a little research on Glyphosate. It's terrible stuff and it is in your food. The EPA just decided to double the allowable limit. Without the chemicals, the food is essentially harmless - so says the studies. They're strictly looking at the plants. Offer up some corn, soy, or other GM crops for testing AFTER they've been drenched in Roundup. I'd REALLY like to see the results of those tests.

sonora wheat's picture

as someone who does try to limit consumption of gmo's for a variety of reasons, i can tell you, you pretty much have to avoid:
fast food
processed food
packaged food
frozen dinners
mostly because of any soy, corn, canola ingredient that is not specified organic
even at upscale restaurants, you can bet that salad dressings, sauces, meats, cheeses, if not specified organic contain gmo's/pesticides/herbicides.
it's really a pain to eat out at a restaurant...and to think about the food chain.
we are eating what our food ate. if you consider that toxins are stored in fat, a gmo-fed pig is storing all the toxins in it's most delicious part. the belly. i like bacon. i don't like toxic chemicals. where do the toxins come from? well, the pig's feed was likely gmo corn, which is sprayed with an ever-increasing amount of roundup to combat the superweeds that are developing.
the biggest problem i have with gmo's is the pesticide/herbicides used. i have seen first hand giant monoculture fields of nothing but corn or soy. and biohazard signs saying do not enter.
so really, eating locally raised fresh organic foods (and preferably home or neighbor grown!) is the best and healthiest diet you can eat. i feel sorry for people who don't know better. gmo's aside, pesticides and herbicides leave a residue on and IN food. (the systemics are IN the plant. all parts of it.) studies have shown it time and time again. and producers don't deny it. they just strive to keep it within "acceptable levels." for me personally, there is no acceptable level of a toxin. if a bug eats my plant, then i have to figure out a way to outsmart that bug or plant something else.

wck's picture

Looking at the ISAAA approval database ( you can add the following to the incomplete list given as an answer:

Chicory (3)
Canteloupe (2)
Plum (1)
Potato (28)
Tomato (8)

If you are interested, my search criterea were:
Crop - Any
Commercial Trait - Any
Developer - Any
Country - United States of America
Type of Approval - Food - direct use or additive

Community Manager's picture

Thanks @SaveMyFood a similar question regarding the EPA limit has been answered here:
Please remember to post comments which align with subject matter of the question/answer - sticking to the subject makes conversational threads easier for others to follow.