The Most Genetically Modified Crops

Mar 03, 2014 | Updated May 02, 2014

There's a lot of talk about genetically modified crops today, but the truth is that there are only eight kinds that are currently approved for commercial production -- though there are also a number that are considered "at risk" (sometimes classified as "monitored risk") because they are susceptible to cross-pollination by approved GMOs (these include flax, wheat, rice, Beta vulgaris [chard, table beets, etc.], Brassica napa (rutabaga, Siberian kale, etc.], Brassica rapa (bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi, etc.], and Curcubita [acorn squash, delicata squash, etc.]).

According to the FDA, GMOs are assessed based upon their toxicity and allergenic properties. "... Before they [crops] can be planted in the U.S.," according to Thomas Helscher, Executive Director, Commercial Acceptance, at Monsanto Company, "GM crops undergo detailed scientific review by at least two, and often three separate federal agencies, including: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)."

  • Cotton
    Roughly 90 percent of American-grown cotton is genetically modified. We know what you are thinking. How in the world do cotton crops affect my food supply? Well, this very common crop is also used to create cottonseed oil which is typically found in foods like margarine and for animal feed. Click Here to see More of The Most Genetically Modified Crops Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  • Papaya
    To be specific, it is Hawaiian papaya seed that is genetically modified, almost all of it. The first crop of GMO Hawaiian papaya was commercially released in 1998. Biotechnology aims to help protect against papaya ringspot virus (PRV). Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  • Soy
    Used to feed many farmed animal stocks and in food additives, GMO soybeans were first planted in 1996 and were being massively produced by 2007. Almost 95 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. Besides soy milk and other soy products labeled as such, soybeans are a major source of lecithin (E322), commonly used as an emulsifier in chocolate, ice cream, margarine, and baked goods. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to see More of The Most Genetically Modified Crops
  • Sugar Beets
    It was originally feared that sugar beets grown from GM seeds would be a risk to other crops. In 2008, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the USDA, performed a court-ordered environmental review of the modified seed and determined that there was no risk. Today, approximately 95 percent of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are modified. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  • Yellow Summer Squash and Zucchini
    In 1995, the first variety of genetically engineered yellow squash; resistant to zucchini yellow mosaic virus and watermelon mottle virus 2, was developed by the Asgrow Seed Co. Although it is an approved crop, this modified crop has barely caught on. Nestle believes that only 10% of approved squash is labeled as GMO. Click Here to see More of The Most Genetically Modified Crops Photo Credit: Shutterstock

While the accuracy of these safety studies is under scrutiny, there is no denying that there are, technically speaking, only a limited number of modified crops approved for sale.

However according to a recent report, 42 percent of U.S. crops are modified and 12 percent of overall world-wide crops yield from genetically modified seeds. You may not be able to purchase some of them outright, but remember that they are the base ingredients in many processed foods. We have compiled a list of the most often modified foods, based on information from the Non-GMO Project to help you make informed choices about what goes on your table.

-Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal

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