Genetically Engineered Foods:
What is genetic engineering (GE) and how does it
differ from traditional breeding?
How prevalent are GE foods in our grocery store?
How does the govt. regulate these crops & foods?
FDA, USDA & EPA
Video: Harvest of Fear
GMO synonymous with genetic engineering
Traditional Breeding vs
A technique in which genes can be taken
from one organism (plant, virus, bacteria,
animal) and transferred to another, in this
case a plant.
How Common are Genetically
1996, govt. approved genetically engineered crops mixed
genetically engineered crops. They became a
part of our food supply (soda, cereal, chips, mayo, etc)
Currently, about 70% of processed foods in U.S. contain
genetically engineered ingredients.
4 countries grow most of the GE food:
Corn, Soy, Canola and Cotton
Soy, corn and canola have a herbicide tolerant
(HT) gene in seed so field can be sprayed with
Up) and not kill the crop.
Up Ready” seeds
Corn & cotton (cottonseed oil) have a Bt gene
incorporated into the plant to resist caterpillars.
Bt is a natural bacteria in the soil that is a toxin for
moth and butterfly larva.
Monitors GE foods when they are sold as food
Makes decisions on food labeling
Oversees GE crops when they are in the field
Determines the environmental aspects of GE crops.
Interest is in the effects that the crop has on the
environment. They monitor Bt corn
Indicates that two substances or foods have
identical molecular profiles
, so they are
chemically similar to each other. This is possible
because the introduction of a single gene does
not alter the overall organism but allows it to
produce a small amount of a specific protein (a
Substantial Equivalence is the reason the FDA
does not label genetically engineered foods.
To limit GE foods:
Minimize processed foods
Look for “not genetically engineered” for:
Soy: oil, flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, isoflavone
Corn: oil flour, meal, starch, gluten, and HFCS,
modified corn starch, fructose, dextrose, glucose
Canola (rapeseed) & Cotton seed oil
Shop Whole Foods
Choose Trader Joe’s brand products
Shop at farmer’s markets