Political Controversy Puts Ag Biotech In Spotlight

INSECT-RESISTANT: Monsanto's NewLeaf potatoes, above, are genetically engineered to protect against the Colorado potato beetle, which can severely damage plans, below Controversy is stirring in the European Union (EU) over genetically engineered food crops. The EU has already demanded that genetically engineered crops imported after July 31 be labeled as products of biotechnology. In the United States also, some consumers are wary of these new "supercrops," fearing that introduced genes could

James Kling
Sep 28, 1997

INSECT-RESISTANT: Monsanto's NewLeaf potatoes, above, are genetically engineered to protect against the Colorado potato beetle, which can severely damage plans, below
Controversy is stirring in the European Union (EU) over genetically engineered food crops. The EU has already demanded that genetically engineered crops imported after July 31 be labeled as products of biotechnology. In the United States also, some consumers are wary of these new "supercrops," fearing that introduced genes could prove toxic or allergenic or that genes for herbicide resistance might encourage more chemically intensive agriculture. The labeling controversy in Europe threatens to interfere with U.S.-European trade, and a similar outcry in the U.S.-and resulting increases in government regulation-could strain research budgets and employment opportunities at agricultural biotech companies.

In answer to critics, companies and researchers point to the need for improved quality and increased quantity of food production to feed a skyrocketing world population. A popular example...

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