Genetically modified foods have been a hot topic in the political world for some years. As described in our Social Impact page, the political and social resposnes to GM foods varies widely by country. Except for a few cases, the FDA has no requirements on the labeling of GM foods in the American market. However, this isn' to say that there hasn't been a political movement to change this.


"FDA's scientific review continues to show that all bioengineered foods sold here in the United States today are as safe as their non-bioengineered counterparts"

-FDA Official under Clinton

Check out the Greenpeace page for more information about this international political group that opposes genetic engineering and GM foods. 

In the European Union, there have been laws passed requiring the labeling of all products containing genetically modified ingredients. Due to the strong social rejection of GM foods, as explained in our Social Impact page, many European comapnies have chosen to completely rid themselves of any association to GM products, going 100% natural and organic. 

The economic impact of GM foods has been varied across the world. The potential economic impact as well as controversy is most evident in the third world. For example, India has been incredibly hesitant to incorporate GM crops into their agricultural economy due to the fear of "neocolonialism," which author Michael Fumento dismisses as a "myth."

Writes Fumento, "Many Indians still feel a burning resentment of colonialism and are open to agruments that involving Western corporations to such a great extent in so important an a area as agriculture is a form of neocolonialism" (201) Citation 5

Vandava Shiva is a prominent biotech critic from India who says that the third world is like a "guinea pig"  for large Western corporations. She even criticized Golden Rice, saying that "liver, egg yolk, chicken, meat, milk and butter" were better alternatives. This is not helpful to the many Indians who are starving and have absolutely no access to such delicacies. Further, most Indians are Hindus- many Hindus choose to not eat meat at all. Her other criticism is that GM companies are trying to create a cycle of dependence- that farmers would be forced to rebuy and replant transgenic seeds every year. While this is true of hybrid seeds, which must be replanted each growing season, transgenic crop varieties are different, as the genes are passed down through the generations and need not be rebought each year. 

Another economic reason that third world countries are hestiant to adopt GM crops is the concern that European nations will cut off all agricultural trade with the nation for fear of contamination by transgenic varieties. This happened in Zambia in 2002, when the government refused tons of lifesaving corn for fear that the transgenic corn could be incorporated into the agricultural market. If this happened, it might be possible that EU countries would not be willing to accept Zambian crops due to strict GM legislation. Is this fair? Check out the Ethical and Legal issues page for more information. 

Back to Impact page