Press "Enter" to skip to content

Consumers more accepting of GMO foods

Published on February 11, 2023 | Nat Williams, AgUpdate

Genetically modified crops have become so ubiquitous, many consumers don’t give them a second thought. But recent developments have put the technology on the front burner.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has issued a decree to phase out the use and importation of GMO corn and other products by 2024. That has triggered a backlash among U.S. trade representatives who believe such a stance may be in violation of the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement, the trilateral pact signed during the Trump administration.

“It’s our position that it flies in the face of USMCA,” said Nathan Fields, vice president of production and sustainability with the National Corn Growers Association. “We’re pretty vocal about asking the administration to support that position. That is a violation.”

Genetic plant development has revolutionized agriculture, especially in the Midwest, where the production of plants resistant to insects, diseases and herbicides is commonplace. And despite the lack of evidence of harmful effects from consumption of foods containing genetically modified organisms, there is still some opposition.

The Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates identification of products containing genetically modified components, opposes the practice despite lack of evidence of negative effects.

The organization’s official position is that, “In the absence of credible, independent, long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is uncertain.” The association did not respond to requests by IFT for an interview.
Fields said that “well over” 90% of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified, with most hybrids including Bt types and those resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides. More than 80% of soybeans are also GMO varieties, also commonly having glyphosate resistance.
He said the general public has become used to genetically modified foods, including meat from livestock fed GMO grains. He doesn’t believe that consumers who eschew non-GMO products are necessarily opposed to the science involved, but instead are seeking more natural food choices.

“There seems to be more comfort with some of these technologies used in food production,” he said. “There is still a contingency of folks who want to have a connection on the supply side and production of food. It’s not necessarily centered on GMO, but what the supply chain looks like, whether it’s organic, free-range or other things.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *