answerMeThis's picture
What will be done to avoid unsafe uses of GMOs, such as herbicide resistant GMO crops which allow for increasingly potent herbicides to be used, destroying environments and threatening consumers health?

A:Expert Answer

GM crops and crop protection chemicals are among the most highly regulated agricultural tools. The U.S. EPA evaluates the use of herbicides on both GM and non-GM crops and any potential effects on the environment, farm-workers, livestock, and consumers. In addition to U.S. EPA evaluation, the FDA reviews GM crops for their equivalence to non-GM versions and their safety for use in food and feed, and the USDA reviews these crops for their effects on the environment and on U.S. farm practices. For GM crops that provide protection from pests, the U.S. EPA registers the products after thoroughly reviewing their environmental and human health effects. The U.S. EPA also registers crop protection chemicals that are used on GM and conventional crops and, where necessary, requires safeguards for how they are used, so as to minimize environmental impacts, such as on bees, other beneficial organisms, aquatic habitats and endangered species. The U.S. EPA conducts robust risk assessments and sets thresholds for maximum residues of these chemicals and their breakdown products on harvested produce so that they do not affect consumer health.


The industry is very careful about the choice of GM crops that are developed, as well as the crop protection chemicals that are used, to enhance U.S. agricultural productivity without harming the environment.

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Alex Huszagh's picture

The fact is also that many modern broad-spectrum herbicides are very specific for plants these days, and therefore do not impact humans. Engineering crops to be resistant to cocktails of these herbicides would be beneficial to agriculture, and although there have been problems with herbicide-resistance due to bad herbicide use, overall engineering crops with herbicide-resistance would lower herbicide use. The key is to use cocktails of herbicides, and not rely on a single herbicide. This means making multi herbicide-resistant plants.