I eating genetically engineered foods?
The simple answer is yes. Recent
estimates suggest that more than 60% of food products on US
shelves may contain at least a small quantity of some crop
that has been genetically engineered. But which
foods? As it turns out, because products made from GE plants
are not required to be labeled in the US, that's a difficult
question to answer. But the information that follows should
give readers a rough estimate of the prevalence of specific
GE plants in the foods we eat.
There are 12 different genetically
engineered plants that have been approved for commercial
production in the US. A simple rule of thumb might be that
any food containing ingredients from one of these 12
plants could be from a GE variety. For example,
because there are several approved varieties of GE corn, any
product containing corn-- be it canned corn, corn syrup,
cornstarch, or popcorn-- might contain GE corn. But
this isn't necessarily true: many approved varieties have
never been marketed, were available only for a short time
and then pulled from shelves, or are available only in
certain markets or products.
So how common are GE foods really?
If you walked into your local grocery store and picked up
any product at random, how likely is it to contain something
genetically engineered? Of the 12 crops for which GE
commercial varieties have been approved, here's how likely
you are to run across a GE version (listed roughly in order
of likelihood). Follow the links for more details.