Genetic engineering (GE) refers to a set of technologies used to change the genetic make-up of cells to produce novel organisms that exhibit a desired trait, such as pesticide resistance. Thistechnology has made its way into the American food and farming system and GE foods, also referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), are now commonplace on supermarket shelves.
In 1976, Monsanto launched its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, which quickly became the world's most popular herbicide. In 1996, Monsanto engineered plants with glyphosate-resistant genes, allowing farmers to spray Roundup onto their fields during the growing season without harming the "Roundup Ready" crop.
In 2012, half of U.S. farmers reported glyphosate resistant weeds in their fields. Now, Dow Chemical has developed Enlist corn and soybeans resistant to a new herbicide, Enlist Duo which contains a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D. It is a matter of time until weeds develop a resistance to this new chemical combination, despite industry claims that GE crops are better for weed management. To learn more about "superweeds," watch this video from Food and Water Watch.
As more research emerges on the negative health, societal and environmental impacts of GE foods, they are coming under increasing scrutiny. Yet, public policy has failed to effectively regulate GE technology or require labeling that protects a consumer's right to know what's in their food.
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