Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a part of production agriculture and helped feed people for decades. They are created by purposefully introducing changes to the genome using biotechnology in order to give it a new trait, such as better resistance to pests or a higher nutrient content. GM crops have been grown since 1996 and today are planted by 18 million farmers in 28 countries, including Brazil, China, India and the United States. According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, as much as 80 percent of the food consumed in the U.S. today contains ingredients made from GM crops.
Despite all scientific evidence that GMOs are safe, some people remain skeptical, and GMOs continue to be a hot-button issue in public discussions about food. However, safety concerns about GMOs are unfounded. All foods derived from GM crops on the market today have been reviewed against rigorous food safety standards.
- GMOs help ensure a safe, affordable and nutritious food supply. As the world’s population grows to at least 9 billion by 2050, they will have an important role to play in sustainable food production.
- The science is clear: GMOs are safe. Cargill agrees with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and many other regulatory and scientific agencies around the world that all food containing GMOs in the market today is substantially equivalent to non-GMO food – both have the same health effects for those who eat them.
- We work with farmers and food producers to supply both GM and non-GM foods. Based on evolving consumer preferences, we are expanding our non-GMO portfolio. In our view, there is a role for both GM and non-GM foods.
- Numerous governments have implemented mandatory labeling of foods that contain ingredients made from GM crops. Cargill believes labeling measures should be scientifically sound, provide clarity for consumers and certainty for the food and agriculture industry, and avoid giving consumers the impression that foods produced with GMO technology are unsafe.
- It is generally accepted that GMOs can also have a positive impact on sustainability. The use of GM crops can increase yields and allow farmers to lower their use of fuel, fertilizer, tillage, and herbicides and pesticides, resulting in reduced environmental impacts and a smaller carbon footprint.
- Crops engineered to have certain traits can contribute to better nutrition. For instance: rice and vegetable oils fortified with vitamins and other nutrients.
- To prevent costly disruptions in global agricultural markets, companies that commercialize GMO technology should be responsible for obtaining domestic and export market approvals before they introduce new products.
- Cargill opposes zero tolerance policies for GMOs. When grain, feed or food are imported into countries where certain GM crops are not permitted by law, the potential exists for very small amounts of GMO materials to be unintentionally mixed up in shipments. The potential for such incidental impurities, despite the application of good agricultural and manufacturing practices, is well-understood in international trade. Numerous product standards account for it. Given this commercial reality, strict zero tolerance for trace amounts of GM crops is not a viable risk management approach.