Genetically-Modified Organisms in United States Agriculture: Mandate for Food Labeling


The production of foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has risen rapidly over the past three decades to comprise nearly 90% of crops grown in the United States today. Currently, there are no mandates for labeling foods containing GMOs. GMO agricultural crops contain the insertion of genes encoding for pesticides, pesticide resistance, growth factors, or other substances not normally present. In addition to the foreign genes that are inserted, hundreds to thousands of mutations disrupt normal genes in GMO plants. Recently, animal studies have demonstrated toxicity of GMO foods causing organ failure, infertility, carcinomas and death. The FDA requirement of ingredients added to foods be labeled on the product is not applied to GMO foods, precluding the consumer’s right to know. GMOs provide an economic incentive to companies because the seeds can be patented, driving up costs and creating the potential for monopolies. Herbicide-resistance conferred by GMOs has resulted in higher pesticide applications, which correlate with higher human cancer rates, and the emergence of pesticide-resistant weeds and insects. GMO toxins are spreading into to non-target insects, waterways and aquatic organisms, with toxicity to non-target organisms and resultant contamination of disparate ecosystems in the food chain. The appropriateness of mandatory GMO labeling of foods in the United States is discussed.

Share and Cite:

S. Armenakas and M. Alexiades-Armenakas, "Genetically-Modified Organisms in United States Agriculture: Mandate for Food Labeling," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 8, 2013, pp. 807-811. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.48105.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Re search Service, “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.,” 2012.
[2] T. M. Klein, E. D. Wolf, R. Wu and J. C. Sanford, “High-Velocity Microprojectiles for Delivering Nucleic Acids into Living Cells,” Nature, Vol. 327, 1987, pp. 70-73.
n6117/abs/327070a0.html doi:10.1038/327070a0
[3] N. G. Halford and P. R. Shewry, “Genetically Modified Crops: Methodology, Benefits, Regulation and Public Concerns,” British Medical Bulletin, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2000, pp. 62-73. doi:10.1258/0007142001902
[4] Monstanto, “Product Patents,” 2013.
[5] OECD, “Report of the Workshop on the Toxicological and Nutritional Testing of Novel Foods,” 1997.
[6] FAO, “Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Allergenicity of Foods Derived from Biotechnology,” Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, 2001.
[7] H. A. Kuiper, G. A. Kleter, H. P. Noteborn and E. J. Kok, “Assessment of the Food Safety Issues Related to Ge netically Modified Foods,” The Plant Journal, Vol. 27, No. 6, 2001, pp. 503-528. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313X.2001.01119.x
[8] E. J. Kok and H. A. Kuiper, “Comparative Safety Assess ment of Biotech Crops,” Trends in Biotechnology, Vol. 21, No. 10, 2003, pp. 439-444. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2003.08.003
[9] G.-E. Seralini, E. Clair, R. Mesnage, S. Gress, N. Defarge, M. Malatesta, D. Hennequin and J. S. de Vendomois, “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, Vol. 40, No. 8, 2012, pp. 1432-1436. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005
[10] J. S. de Vendomois, F. Roullier, D. Cellier and G.-E. Seralini, “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health,” International Journal of Biological Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 7, 2009, pp. 706-726. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.706
[11] C. Benbrook, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the US—The First Sixteen Years,” Environmental Sciences Europe, Vol. 24, 2012, pp. 1-13. doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-24
[12] J. R. Latham, A. K. Wilson and R. A. Steinbrecher, “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” Jour nal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Vol. 2006, 2006, Article ID: 25376. doi:10.1155/JBB/2006/25376
[13] M. Labra, C. Savini and M. Bracale, “Genomic Changes in Transgenic Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Plants Produced by Infecting Calli with Agrobacterium tumefaciens,” Plant Cell Reports, Vol. 20, No. 4, 2001, pp. 325-330. doi:10.1007/s002990100329
[14] Food and Drug Administration, Office of Nutrition, La beling and Dietary Supplements, “Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide,” 1994.
information/guidancedocuments/foodlabelingnutrition/ucm 059098.htm
[15] C. A. Carter and G. P. Gruere, “Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods: Does It Really Provide Con sumer Choice?” Ag Bio Forum, Vol. 6, No. 1 & 2, 2013, pp. 68-70.
[16] J. Fernandez-Cornejo, “The Seed Industry in U.S. Agri culture (Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 786),” United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, pp. 1-71.
[17] Y. B. Liu, B. E. Tabashnik, T. J. Dennehy, A. L. Patin and A. C. Bartlett, “Development Time and Resistance to Bt Crops,” Nature, Vol. 400, No. 6744, 1999, pp. 487-598.
nature/journal/v400/n6744/pdf/400519a0.pdf doi:10.1038/22919
[18] L. Hardell and M. Eriksson, “A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides,” Cancer, Vol. 85, No. 6, 1999, pp. 1353-1360. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0142(19990315)85:6<1353::AID-CNCR19>3.0.CO;2-1
[19] V. J. Koller, M. Furhacker, A. Nersesyan, M. Misik, M. Eisenbauer and S. Knasmeuller, “Cytotoxic and DNA Damaging Properties of Glyphosate and Roundup in Hu man Buccal-Derived Epithelial Cells,” Archives of Toxi cology, Vol. 86, No. 5, 2012, pp. 805-813. doi:10.1007/s00204-012-0804-8
[20] J. D. Harwood, W. G. Wallin and J. J. Obrycki, “Uptake of Bt Endotoxins on Higher Order Arthropod Predators: Molecular Evidence from a Transgenic Corn Agroeco system,” Molecular Ecology, Vol. 14, No. 9, 2005, pp. 2815-2823. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02611.x
[21] E. J. Rosi-Marshall, J. L. Tank, T. V. Royer, M. R. Whiles, M. Evans-White, C. Chambers, N. A. Griffiths, J. Pokelsek and M. L. Stephen, “Toxins in Transgenic Crop Byproducts May Affect Headwater Stream Ecosystems,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Vol. 104, No. 41, 2007, pp. 16204-16208. doi:10.1073/pnas.0707177104
[22] K. R. Prihoda and J. R. Coats, “Aquatic Fate and Effects of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry3Bb1 Protein: Toward Risk Assessment,” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 27, No. 4, 2008, pp. 793-798. doi:10.1897/07-300.1

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.