A short History of GMO foods
Scientists first discovered that DNA can transfer between organisms in 1946. It is now known that there are several mechanisms for DNA transfer (horizontal gene transfer) and that these occur in nature on a large scale – for example, it is a major mechanism for antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. In 1994, the tomato was genetically modified for human consumption. This genetic modification allowed the tomato to delay ripening after picking. In 1995, the biotech company Monsanto introduced herbicide-immune soybeans known as Roundup Ready. Also in 1995, the Bt Potato was approved safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, making it the first pesticide-producing crop to be approved in the USA. In 1996, the first genetically modified canola was available on the market. In the year 2000, scientist discovered that they were able to genetically modify foods to increase their nutrient value. In the year 2005, alfafa began being marketed in the USA. As of 2011, the U.S. leads a list of multiple countries in the production of GM crops.
The first commercially grown genetically modified whole food crop was a tomato (called FlavrSavr), which was modified to ripen without softening, by Calgene, later a subsidiary of Monsanto. Calgene took the initiative to obtain FDA approval for its release in 1994 without any special labeling, although legally no such approval was required. It was welcomed by consumers who purchased them at a substantial premium over the price of regular tomatoes. However, production problems and competition from a conventionally bred, longer shelf-life variety prevented the product from becoming profitable. A tomato produced using similar technology to the Flavr Savr was used by Zeneca to produce tomato paste which was sold in Europe during the summer of 1996. The labeling and pricing were designed as a marketing experiment, which proved, at the time, that European consumers would accept genetically engineered foods. Currently, there are a number of food species in which a genetically modified version exists (percent modified are mostly 2009/2010 data)
- Rogue Valley hears about GMO products from Dr. Mallory-Smith
- A short discussion on greenhouses to help you decide what you need.