Do you know what you are eating? Recently, the FDA has been holding hearings to learn about genetically engineered salmon that if approved to come to market may be put on the grocer’s shelves without a label informing you of the genetic modification. Genetically engineered food is not new. Food stuffs that have undergone bio-engineering and genetic modification have been in stores since the early 1990s. And they don’t have labels.
Most of the staple crops in the United States such as corn, cotton, soybean and rapseed (canola) are already genetically engineered. In fact, over 80% of the aforementioned crops in the United States alone have been genetically altered. Other crops that have been genetically modified include alfafa, potato, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, tomatoes, squash, sweet peppers and rice.
Now some of the foods listed have been taken off the market or have been halted from going to market by the US Supreme Court, a pending lawsuit organized by the Center for Food Safety, and because of commercial failure. The first crop of genetically engineered food to be halted by court order was Round Up Ready alfalfa. Monsato, one of the largest companies to produce genetically modified crops and seeds, was taken to court by organic farmers in 2006. The Northern California District Court ruled in favor of the organic farmers and placed a ban on selling the genetically modified alfalfa in 2007. However, in June of 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ban was “unjustified” but will be kept in place until an assessment of the alfalfa’s environmental impact is completed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Another genetically engineered crop, sugar beets, has also been halted by court ordered decision. In August 2010, a genetically modified breed of pestilent-resistant sugar beets (again created by Monsato) was found to have the same issues the Round Up Read alfalfa had. Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered a halt to the planting of the beet saying, “the Agriculture Department had not adequately assessed the environmental consequences before approving them for commercial cultivation.”
So what foods are you possibly eating that have been genetically modified and have no labels indicating the modification?
According the United States General Accounting Office the genetically modified foods listed below have been approved by the FDA for human consumption. When reading the list consider that the FDA requires no labeling on genetically modified foods that do not show a “material difference” from the original product.
List of Genetically Modified Foods FDA Says Safe for Human Consumption:
Rice (although not set to hit the market until 2012)
Genetically modified food brings a whole new meaning to “What’s for dinner?”