USFRA's View on GM Seeds
USFRA supports farmers’ choices to plant and grow conventional crops, GM crops, organic crops or a combination. Similarly, USFRA supports consumers’ choices to purchase foods they prefer. Many of our farmers plant GM 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 GM seeds for a number of reasons – to reduce crop damage from weeds, diseases and insects as well as from adverse weather conditions such as drought or flooding. GM 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.”
Since 1995, food from GM 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. GM 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 GM seeds have the same nutritional properties as non-GM seed crops and are not harmful for humans and animals to consume. In the years that farmers have grown crops from GM 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 hardiness, yield, taste and nutrition. Today’s GM 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, GM seeds can be a critical tool in feeding the world without depleting resources or harming the environment. GM 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 keeping soil healthy. Additionally, as seed companies and researchers continue to make new strides in developing crops with the use of genetic engineering, there are increased opportunities to enhance the nutritional profile of foods that are important in developing countries that need nutrient-rich food.
A Commitment to Answering Consumer Questions – and Meeting Their Demands
As more and more people ask questions about how we as a society grow and raise our food, it’s perhaps a good time to take a look at the context. In the middle of the last century people began growing concerned about how we would be able to feed and nourish the growing population, especially in poor and developing countries.
Researchers at agricultural universities began exploring better ways to raise food. Some of what they came up with included genetically modifying seeds to create crops that solve nutritional deficiencies.
USFRA understands that some consumers may have important questions about food from GM 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 GM seeds with consumers. Additionally, we encourage objective, scientifically verified research to uncover additional GM seed potential for human, animal and planet health.
Consumers have the right to choose what foods they want. USFRA supports transparency, which can take a variety of forms, in products grown or produced from GM seeds. Food from GM seeds has the same nutritional characteristics as food from seeds produced through conventional breeding, including organic crops. It is inaccurate to categorize food from GM seeds as harmful to human health because it simply has not been proven. USFRA encourages all consumers to turn to trustworthy, scientifically valid sources of information.
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. To read more click here.
No commercial available food from GM seeds meets these criteria.