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. This technology 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 weedkiller Roundup, which quickly become 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.
Promised higher yields, labor savings and lower weed pressure, GE seeds have been widely adopted by U.S. farmers. Today, Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and more than 80 percent of soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets and canola grown in the U.S. contain Monsanto's patented genes.
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.
The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.