GMOs in the US and abroad
GMOs have been recieved differently in the U.S. and elsewhere. The GM food controversy arose out of disputes about the advantages and disadvantages of GMO crops. Numerous peer-reviewed journals have published articles about the safety of GMOs, but activists from groups like Greenpeace and Ban Terminator emphasize long-term health risks and threats to biodiversity. Similar groups also claim that the risks of GMOs has not been investigated enough to prove their safety.
GMOs in the U.S.
The U.S. is the world leader in production of GM crops, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the crops planted internationally. The three main GM crops planted in the U.S. are soybean, cotton and corn. These crops account for more than half, and in some cases up to 85 percent, of the crops produced in the U.S. For awhile, the European Union had an import ban on GM corn grown in the U.S., but it was lifted in January 2007. Several counties in California have banned GMOs, beginnging in 2004 with Mendocino County. For now, U.S. policy encourages the use of GMOs and no special labeling is required by the FDA.
There is little international consesus about the acceptability and role of GMOs, but citizens outside the U.S. have had a harsher reaction to GMOs than U.S. citizens. There is a growing seed movement in India, led by Vandana Shiva, who speaks around the world against GMOs and especially the terminator gene. The terminator gene, in production by Monsanto, would make for first generation crops that would fail to yield viable seeds for the second generation, prompting farmers to buy the seeds each year. Hugo Chavez announced a full-out ban on GM seeds in Venezuela. The European Union prohibits GMOs from being in any food labeled organic and all food containing any trace of GMOs has to be labeled as such. GMOs are regulated in Austrailia and New Zealand, both countries where widespread protests againt GM crops have taken place.
Vandana Shiva on the terminator gene