Biotech Update: Environmental Effects, Safety and Consumer Demand

Today’s consumer is defining healthy and balanced with new characteristics, and the non-GMO label is clearly valuable to some shoppers. While we’ve previously discussed the differences between GMOs and non-GM plant breeding, we want to further break down what is happening in the food and ag industry regarding benefits, environment and consumer demand.

GMO Benefits
While some have expressed concern over GM crops and their effects on the environment, experts agree the introduction of GMOs actually has had a positive-to-neutral impact on reduced chemical use and an overall positive impact on the environment.

  • Farmers raising GM crops, often referred to as biotech crops, can use pesticides in more targeted ways, thereby reducing pesticide use significantly. Biotech crops also promote reduced tilling or no-till practices, which contribute to soil conservation and minimize the release of carbon dioxide, decreasing the effects of global warming.
  • According to a 2016 study by Brookes and Barfoot, planting biotech crops in 2014 resulted in greenhouse gas savings equivalent to removing nearly 10 million cars from the road.
  • A rigorous S. regulatory review process means more than 75 different studies are conducted and reviewed by federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, before a new GMO comes to market.

Benefits to Farmers
Some of the most popular anti-GMO arguments relate to farmers and agribusiness companies, claiming GMOs only benefit the multinational companies that sell them and corporate farmers in resource-rich countries like the U.S. However, eight of the top 10 countries planting GM crops in 2015 were developing nations such as China, India and South Africa. According to a recent economic analysis, the net farm-level benefits of GM crops totaled nearly $18 billion in 2014, with farmers in developed and developing nations benefiting equally.

GMO Safety
Experts agree that foods produced with biotechnology are safe to eat. Before products reach consumers, comprehensive safety and environmental testing is done. Each new plant biotech product may require more than 75 different technical studies and five to seven years to obtain all of the necessary global approvals for commercial sale and export. To further supplement the safety of GMOs, studies confirm GMOs do not cause new allergies, cancer or any other diseases.

Why Consumers Seek Non-GMO
According to the 2017 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food and Health survey, 73 percent of consumers who seek non-GMO labels on products or when eating out do so because they believe these foods are either healthier, safer or better for the environment.

As consumer preferences continue to evolve and shift, Omega-9 Canola Oil is available in both options (non-GMO Project Verified and GM), which gives our customers an oil option that best meets their needs. Contact the team today to learn how Omega-9 Canola Oil can help your business create menus or products with your desired attributes.