Genetically Modified Food

August 31, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 30
Should labels be required?
By Jason McLure


Plant breeder Alamgir Hossain (International Rice Research Institute)
Plant breeder Alamgir Hossain is developing Golden Rice for Bangladesh. Supporters of the genetically engineered variety say it could save the lives of up to 2.7 million children a year, but it has yet to be planted commercially; the Philippines may approve it for cultivation in 2013. (International Rice Research Institute)

California voters will decide in November whether foods produced with genetically modified ingredients — so-called GM foods — should bear special labels. The controversial measure reflects the uneven acceptance of genetically engineered crops since their rise in the 1990s. Organic farmers and other opponents of GM foods contend they may pose health or environmental risks, despite widespread scientific consensus that they are not inherently more risky than other crops. Foes of the labeling referendum, including GM farmers and seed producers, such as Monsanto, say that GM crops are more productive, pest-resistant and environmentally friendly than conventional crops and that the fast-growing organic industry and misguided consumer groups are to blame for confusion about the science behind them. Even as GM crops have been embraced by U.S. commodity growers, Europe remains skeptical. However, eight of the 10 countries with the most acreage in biotech crops are now in the developing world.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 15, 2019  Fast-Food Shakeout
Jun. 16, 2017  Food Labeling
Oct. 03, 2014  Food Policy Debates
Aug. 31, 2012  Genetically Modified Food
Dec. 17, 2010  Food Safety
Jan. 26, 2007  Slow Food Movement
Nov. 01, 2002  Food Safety
Mar. 30, 2001  Biotech Foods
Sep. 04, 1998  Food Safety Battle: Organic Vs. Biotech
Jun. 04, 1993  Food Safety
Jun. 12, 1992  Food Irradiation
Nov. 08, 1991  Fast-Food Shake-up
Nov. 18, 1988  How Safe Is Your Food?
Dec. 11, 1981  Controversy Over Salt in Food
Dec. 08, 1978  Fast Food: U.S. Growth Industry
May 12, 1978  Food Additives
Dec. 26, 1969  Food Additives
Dec. 04, 1968  Synthetic Foods
Jan. 20, 1960  Food Safeguards
Feb. 09, 1952  Chemicals in Foods
Dec. 18, 1934  Revision of the Pure Food and Drugs Act
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