Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have received much attention in recent years, yet the concept of genetically engineering (GE) food is not new – U.S. farmers began growing GMOs in 1994 and now plant about 165 million acres of crops annually, including almost all U.S. plantings of corn, soybeans, canola and cotton. As a result, food manufacturers estimate that, for more than a decade, about 70-75 percent of processed foods contain at least one ingredient harvested from a GMO crop. Despite their permanence, GMO crops and resulting products remain topics of intense debate. One of the most fiercely contested issues within the overarching topic of whether GMOs are beneficial is GMO food labeling – in the U.S. there is no national labeling standard, and individual states have started their own labeling initiatives; likewise, global countries generally do not have labeling standards or requirements specific to GMO food, yet the European Union, Japan, China and Russia require labeling of products containing GMOs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not formally regulate GMOs, but rather relies on food companies to correctly label their products in the interest of public safety. The public mind is divided on whether food companies will uphold this duty, and whether GMOs are truly safe.
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