Massive food deception: Genetically engineered crops soon to be marketed as ‘Non-GMO’

Sunday, April 24, 2016
By Paul Martin

by: Isabelle Z.
Sunday, April 24, 2016

Food companies continue to find ways to deceive their customers – the food-buying public – as they aim to maximize their profits. In the latest example, one company has found a way to pass off genetically engineered crops as “non-GMO.”

How can they get away with such deception? It all comes down to semantics. A San Diego company called Cibus is marketing a genome-edited, herbicide-resistant oilseed rape as non-genetically modified, on the grounds that only a few nucleotides in the existing genes of the plant were changed. They argue that because genes have not been inserted from other plants or other types of organisms, the classification is appropriate.

American regulators have allowed this to happen, designating the oilseed rape from Cibus as mutagenesis rather than genetic modification. This eliminates the need for the tremendous costs in time and money that the company would need to invest in order to get regulatory approval if it actually were to be labeled a GM organism. It can take more than five years and tens of millions of dollars to gain GM organism approval in the U.S.

The European Commission, meanwhile, has not yet taken an official stance on genome-edited crops, but a number of political groups in Europe are pushing for a hard line. Right now, an organism is usually considered to be GM in Europe if its genes have been changed in ways that could not have occurred naturally. By this definition, edited crops could fall under the GM classification.

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