Biotechnology in our food

While there is currently no GMO wheat or barley on the market today, we support the research and development of these tools. We support farmers’ choices to plant and grow conventional crops, biotech crops, organic crops or a combination. Similarly, we support consumers’ choices to purchase foods they prefer. Some of our friends who grow corn and soybeans plant biotech seeds for reasons such as protecting their crops from adverse weather. Some of our farmers choose organic production. All of these methods of production contribute to meeting consumer demands for food products as well as producing healthy choices for everyone and protecting the environment.

Farmers also use biotech seeds to reduce crop damage from weeds, diseases and insects as well as from adverse weather conditions such as drought or flooding.  Biotech seeds often allow farmers to be more precise about their use of inputs like nutrients, pesticides and water needed to grow crops.

Safety and FDA Review

“FDA has no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.” (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm059098.htm)

Since 1995, food from biotech seeds has been commercially available and has been proven safe for human and animal consumption. No other crops have been more studied or subject to greater scientific review. Biotech seeds undergo testing for safety, health and nutritional value – and regulation is overseen by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Research shows that the current commercial crops from biotech seeds have the same nutritional properties as non-biotech seed crops and are not harmful for humans and animals to consume. In the years that farmers have grown crops from biotech seeds (since 1995), there has not been a single instance of harm to human health. 

For roughly 10,000 years, farmers have been genetically altering plants and seeds through selective breeding to improve characteristics such as heartiness, yield, taste and nutrition. Today’s biotech seeds are part of this evolution – their development is sped up and more precise by inserting the genes from one plant into another in a laboratory setting.

Using Fewer Resources to Feed More People

As the world’s population grows, possibly adding two billion more people by 2050, and agricultural production land resources stay the same or shrink, biotech seeds can be a critical tool in feeding the world without depleting resources or harming the environment. Biotech seeds can contribute to a reduction in the amount of land, water and chemicals needed to produce more food.  This can contribute greatly to conservation and environmental stewardship, in particular helping to save protected land and to keep soil healthy.

A Commitment to Answering Consumer Questions – and Meeting Their Demands

We understand that some consumers may have important questions about food from biotech seeds. Farmers and ranchers and their industry partners should strive to answer these questions. We encourage farmers and ranchers to share their personal opinions and stories about why they chose to use or not to use biotech seeds with consumers. Additionally, we encourage objective, scientifically verified research to uncover additional biotech seed potential for human, animal and planet health.

Consumers have the right to choose what foods they want. We support transparency, which can take a variety of forms, in products grown or produced from biotech seeds. Food from biotech seeds has the same nutritional characteristics as food from seeds produced through conventional breeding, including organic crops.  It is inaccurate to categorize food from biotech seeds as harmful to human health because it simply has not been proven. We encourage all consumers to turn to trustworthy, scientifically valid sources of information.

Labeling: The USDA and FDA state the following

  • “If a bioengineered food is significantly different from its traditional counterpart such that the common or usual name no longer adequately describes the new food, the name must be changed to describe the difference.
  • If an issue exists for the food or a constituent of the food regarding how the food is used or consequences of its use, a statement must be made on the label to describe the issue.
  • If a bioengineered food has a significantly different nutritional property, its label must reflect the difference.
  • If a new food includes an allergen that consumers would not expect to be present based on the name of the food, the presence of that allergen must be disclosed on the label.”  (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm059098.htm)

No commercial available food from biotech seeds meets these criteria.

Sources: U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance