Is The Biotech Food Craze Slowing Down?

The boom in new biotech crops appears to be waning, perhaps due to government regulation, according to a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

These days, the group reports new biotech crops can twice as long to be approved. That slowdown may likely explained by the dual approvals necessary at the federal level by the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve them. The slowdown, CSPI reports, has been particularly acute since 2000 when three or fewer crops were approved by both agencies.

Over the past decade, however, biotechnology has become a huge presence in the American agriculture scene in terms of the percentage of biotech crop acreage being planted, according to Department of Agriculture statistics.

  • Soy -- 82 percent
  • Cotton -- 76 percent
  • Canola -- 75 percent
  • Corn and papaya -- 46 percent
  • Summer squash -- 19 percent

And, since 1996, biotech crops have exploded by a factor of 47 globally.

Despite the decrease in biotech approvals reported by CSPI in this country, I'm still greatly concerned about this issue. For instance, a recent study found you have a 70 percent chance of picking a food with genetically modified (GM) ingredients off the shelf at your local grocery store. At least seven out of every 10 items have been genetically modified. And, that's far different than the perception consumers have about knowingly eating such foods...

If you want to learn more about the problems with GM foods, I strongly recommend reading the incredible series, Seeds of Doubt, written by staffers at the Sacramento Bee. I also encourage you to learn more about the simple ways you can avoid GM foods.

USA Today February 3, 2005

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