Washington State’s ballot measure on last November election that would have required mandatory labelling of some food items failed to obtain voter approval. This debate once again brought the controversy over genetically engineered food into the limelight. Major grocery suppliers worked tirelessly against the measure to see it defeated. They are working to get a Federal prohibition of such laws where more than 20 states are fighting to initiate bans.
Genetically engineered or modified food are those that have had changes made to their DNA using genetic engineering techniques resulting in new crop traits or animal products. Such food began to show up in 1994 with delayed ripening tomato introduction by Celgene. Many farm crops including soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil now contain genetically modified products. The new breeds are more resistant to pathogens and herbicides, and contain better nutrient profile. As to livestock, no genetically modified products are available in the market yet. Scientists claim that consumption of genetically modified food does not pose a threat to humans. Yet opponents still express concerns over food safety, environmental concerns, and multinational corporation’s rights to certain economic benefits from genetically modified food products.