Beginning in the mid 1990’s, a few small companies began using genetically modified food ingredients in their products. The trend started small; the FDA initially only approved certain ingredients like corn, rice, canola oil, and soybeans. However, the cost benefits of using these GMO’s soon became too tantalizing for other corporations to ignore. Larger companies like PepsiCo, General Mills, and Nestle began integrating GMO’s into their products, and shortly thereafter fruits and vegetables were approved for genetic modification as well. And just like that, it became clear that the entire landscape of the food industry was being altered.
Today, the Grocery Manufacturing Association estimates that 70% of items in American grocery stores contain genetically modified organisms. The FDA has endorsed over 40 seeds and plants for genetic modification, further enlarging the role GMO’s play in the development of American produce. Proponents of genetically modified crops argue that they are potentially more resistant to harmful bacterial growth, easier to produce in harsh conditions, and can be engineered with additional vitamins and minerals. All of this sounds pretty beneficial, so what’s all the fuss about?