QWhy are over 65 countries around the world labeling food containing GMOs, but it's not supported by biotech companies in the U.S. (other than possibly being perceived as inferior to conventional food crops)? Also, why are some countries choosing to ban GM

Why are over 65 countries around the world labeling food containing GMOs, but it's not supported by biotech companies in the U.S. (other than possibly being perceived as inferior to conventional food crops)? Also, why are some countries choosing to ban GMO crops? Do they have evidence to show GMOs pose a danger to the health of their citizens?

AExpert Answer

Food packaging, labeling and marketing laws vary greatly by geography and even within geographies.

 

In the United States, all food is labeled in accordance with Food and Drug Administration policy, which is the same for foods derived from biotechnology as it is for conventional foods. When a food product derived from biotechnology differs in composition, nutritional value or end use, that difference must be noted on the label, just as it is with other foods (e.g., margarine versus low-fat margarine). Most foods from biotech crops are not different by FDA standards and therefore not required to be labeled in the United States.

 

The labeling question continues to be debated here in the States, but the important thing to know is that we believe information for consumers is a good thing. That is why we sponsor this forum where consumers can ask their questions directly of us―independent scientists, health professionals, farmers and more.

 

Regarding the second part of your question, very few countries have actually banned the growing of crops. In most cases, GM crops are not approved for cultivation (or growing by local farmers) because a regulatory process does not yet exist in that country. As of 2012, 74 governments had approved either the cultivation of biotech crops in their country or the import of GM food and feed products. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence demonstrates the safety of plant biotechnology. Even in the European Union, which is widely recognized as the most precautious political authority, governing bodies and scientific bodies have declared a number of specific crops to be safe and published to research reviews concluding that GMOs are at least as safe as conventional crops. 

Posted on February 2, 2018
Dr. Larry Gilbertson, PhD, Genomics Strategy Lead at Monsanto, explains how GMOs are “created” or made exactly, answering a lot of common questions about this process in this post. Watch as he prepares to create a GMO here.     Additionally, the below infographic details what a GMO is and the lifecycle it goes through to be developed.     Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, explains what the future of GMOs may be like in this... Read More
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A former response to a similar question answered by Dave Kovalic, Regulatory New Technology Lead at Monsanto, also provides information on scientific advancements and how they [Monsanto] affirm safety prior to targeted vector insertion.   “For context, it is important to recognize that random genome insertions have been naturally occurring in crops over the ~10,000-year history of agriculture.  In some crops, more than 90 percent of the genome consists of these... Read More
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In terms of the science behind the technology to create GMOs, scientists have a much better understanding how a transgene is delivered and stably integrated into a chromosome (or genome). Many GMO products, such as Bt corn, were made using Agrobacterium cells to deliver useful trait genes into the plant cells. Scientists were able to dissect the different steps of this natural gene delivery system encoded by Agrobacterium. We now have a good understanding of the interactions between... Read More