Many questions arise in regards to genetic modification. GE (Genetically Engineered), GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and GM (Genetically Modified) are very big buzzwords in agriculture today (acronyms is more accurate).
Crops have been "bred" and selected since humans began farming. Farmer Joe may have preferred the characteristics of his red-veined chard....thus we practiced natural selection and breeding, and we have some variety in our food (although this variety is narrowing at an accelerating rate). There is no harm in breeding plants in a natural fashion.
A genetically modified plant, on the other hand, is created in a lab by invading plant calls (often using a gene gun) and depositing new and totally foreign genetic material into the targeted host. For instance, a flounder (yes, the fish) gene may be inserted into a tomato to give it resistance to cold. Firefly genes have been injected into tobacco to make it grow 24 hours a day, etc. For the most part, in the Midwest, companies have inserted pesticide genes into a plant for herbicide or insect resistance. You can spray the selected herbicide on a soybean, for instance, and the soybean will never die. An insect tries to eat a corn plant and the insect dies, and so on. Plant cells use their natural resistance to try to reject the foreign genes being forced into their cell structure, so they are often inserted with viral promoters to encourage acceptance.. and so the plot thickens.
Today, an estimated 52% of all corn, 87% of all soy, 55% of all Canola, and 79% of all cotton grown in the United States are GE. Polls consistently show that 90% of Americans want GE food labeled so that they know what they are feeding their families, yet there are no GMO labeling requirements in the United States. At least 51 countries around the world require some form of labeling for GE foods, including the entire European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, India, China, and Japan. Many of these same 51 countries will not allow the GE food produced in other countries to be imported into their country.
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of both the Center for Food Safety and the International Center for Technology Assessment, believes that, "The genetic engineering of our food may well be the most profound alteration in our diet since the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago." He has a really wonderful book entitled Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food, if you would like to know more about this subject! (The book is available online on Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles.)
In America, since we have no GMO labeling requirements for food, there is one simple way to know that you are purchasing a GE product: buy organic. Genetically engineered plants in any form have zero tolerance in the organic standards.
This information is not meant to diagnose, treat or replace traditional treatment, and has not been approved by the FDA or HPB.