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 January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
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Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
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Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More