Food & Feed
Examples of GE crops intended to be used as food and feed include herbicide tolerant soybeans and insect resistant corn. Products of this type have been commercially available for over ten years and are grown and consumed throughout the world.
Herbicide tolerant soybeans have been engineered to allow elimination of weeds without damaging the crop. These products allow farmers to use environmentally safer pesticides and simplify crop management decisions.
Insect Resistant (IR) corn plants have been transformed with a gene from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thrungiensis. to produce a protein which is toxic to certain pests. These products have reduced the insecticide needed for crop production.
In the US in 2007, 91% of all soybean planted acreage was herbicide tolerant GE soybean and 49% of corn planted acreage was resistant GE corn.
In addition, 59% of the US cotton crop is insect resistant GE Cotton.
See Table 1 for summary of GE crops deregulated in the US.
In the United States regulators work within the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology and evaluate safety of GE crops with food and feed uses. The primary agencies involved are the USDA, EPA and FDA.
When a genetically engineered plant is developed for use as food or feed by a company or scientists in universities or governmental research institutes, regulators evaluate these products for compliance with regulatory requirements that are intended to assure safety to humans, animals and the environment. There are different requirements for such as testing or bulking up in the field (during characterization of the new GE plant line) and for of the GE plant.