Genetically modified food
Genetically modified food (sometimes called GM food) is food that has been produced using organisms that have been engineered genetically. Such food either contains such organisms, or such organisms have been used to create the food. Common examples of such foods include maize, soybean, cotton and rapeseed. The first genetically modified animal could be salmon.
Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its delayed ripening tomato. Genetically modified foods include: soybean, corn, canola, rice, and cotton seed oil. The aims include faster growth, resistance to fungi, production of extra nutrients, or some other beneficial purpose. GM livestock have also been experimentally developed.
In some places it is legal to grow genetically modified crops, and to use this as food for livestock grown for human consuption. The crops need to be labelled as "genetically modified", the lifestock products do not. This can make it very difficult to determine if a product in the supermarket was produced using genetically modified organisms. Estimates are that between 60% and 80% of foods available at the common supermarket came in contact with such organisms.
Regulation[change | edit source]
The approaches taken by governments to assess and manage the development and release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) vary from country to country. Some of the most marked differences are between the USA and Europe.
The USA regulatory policy is the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology. The policy has three tenets:
- U.S. policy would focus on the product of genetic modification (GM) techniques, not the process itself
- Only regulation grounded in verifiable scientific risks would be tolerated, and
- GM products are on a continuum with existing products and, therefore, existing statutes are sufficient to review the products.
European Union have the most stringent GMO regulations in the world. All GMOs, and irradiated food, are considered "new food" and subject to extensive, case-by-case, science based food evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The criteria for authorization has four broad categories: "safety," "freedom of choice," "labelling," and "traceability".
Labelling[change | edit source]
One of the key issues is whether GM products should be labelled. A study investigating voluntary labelling in South Africa found that 31% of products labelled as GMO-free had a GM content above 1.0%.
Examples[change | edit source]
As for soybeans, approximately 95% of the US crop is GM, and approximately 85% of the world's soybean crop is processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil. The bulk of the soybean crop is grown for oil production, with the high-protein defatted and "toasted" soy meal used as livestock feed and dog food. 98% of the U.S. soybean crop is used for livestock feed. A smaller percentage of soybeans are used directly for human consumption.
References[change | edit source]
- James, Clive (1996). "Global review of the field testing and commercialization of transgenic plants: 1986 to 1995". The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. http://www.isaaa.org/kc/Publications/pdfs/isaaabriefs/Briefs%201.pdf. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- biotopics.co.uk: Genetically modified microorganisms and food production
- ISAAA: Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2009
- United States Regulatory Agencies unified biotechnology website
- Emily Marden, Risk and Regulation: U.S. Regulatory Policy on genetically modified food and agriculture, 44 B.C.L. Rev. 733 (2003)
- Davison, John. 2010. GM plants: Science, politics and EC regulations. Plant Science 178(2):94–98 
- GMO Compass: The European Regulatory System. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Botha, Gerda M. and Viljoen, Christopher D. 2009. South Africa: a case study for voluntary GM labelling. Food Chemistry 112(4):1060–1064 
- The regulation of genetically modified foods
-  Gibson, Johanna 2006. Consumer protection: Consumer strategies and the European Market in genetically modified foods. Nw. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 5, 176. Free access
- Michelle Simon 2011 Food Safety News. ConAgra sued over GMO ’100% natural’ cooking oils
- "Canola Oil". Soyatech. http://www.soyatech.com/canola_facts.htm. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- David Bennett, Southeast Farm Press, 2003. World soybean consumption quickens
- "Soybean". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/557184/soybean. Retrieved February 18, 2012.