A long history of improving our food
The history of agriculture is one of frequent, deliberate improvements to the crops we grow, and biotech crops are one of the latest examples. Images of the ancestors of common foods like corn or broccoli make it clear that the fruits and vegetables we see in the grocery store today are often much different than they were prior to human intervention.
Better food, thanks to improving techniques
With human innovation, many modern versions of popular crops are easier to grow, more resistant to diseases, healthier, and tastier than before. The chief advantage of biotechnology is that it enables exact enhancements to our food with greater precision and efficiency. Plus, biotechnology offers the potential to move genes that deliver beneficial traits from unrelated plants to commercial crops.
Farmers’ actions speak louder than words
There are now 18 million farmers using biotechnology globally, with at least 15 million of them small, resource-poor farmers in developing countries. These farmers are growing nearly 450 million acres combined of biotech crops around the globe. What’s more, the number of farmers and the total acreage has steadily increased over the past two decades.
The numbers as reported by in the ISAAA’s 2014 report on the “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops” tell a convincing story: biotech crops have meaningful, tangible benefits. Otherwise, there’s no way 18 million farmers would have made biotech the fastest adopted crop technology in history.
A spotless record of safety
Despite ongoing public debate, we have consumed more than three trillion meals containing genetically engineered foods with no substantiated case of harm. There are more than 2,000 studies evaluating the safety of biotech crops, studies that demonstrate approved GMOs are as safe as conventionally developed foods.
A selection of the most reputable science and health organizations in the world speak to the safety of GE crops, including the American Medical Association, The National Academy of Sciences, the European Commission and the World Health Organization. With this brain trust, we have every reason to believe GMOs are as healthy as conventionally derived food.
An overview of ag-biotech
While there should be no health concerns when it comes to biotech crops, we acknowledge they’re not a silver bullet solution to the agricultural challenges around the world. Agricultural biotechnology is just that – a technology. It’s a tool in a diverse toolbox that allows us to improve on the food we grow.
Biotechnology has enormous potential to help us feed a rapidly growing global population and as our understanding of plant genomes continues to advance, genetic improvements can be achieved more quickly and efficiently than ever. There are no shortage of challenges that biotech solutions can help address: drought, salinization of water supplies, low yields in certain target crops, viruses, diseases, and much more.