Illinois PIRG Education Fund
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and foods derived from GMO ingredients were introduced into U.S. markets comparatively recently, with the first such foods approved for commercial use twenty years ago. Yet the pace of adoption has been blistering. As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified.
Because many of these crops are the source of ubiquitous food additives like high fructose corn syrup and soy and canola oils, the industry estimates that 70%-80% of the food Americans eat contains GMO ingredients. However, this massive shift has mostly been invisible to consumers. While 64 countries require the disclosure of GMO ingredients on food labels, the U.S. has yet to adopt mandatory GMO labeling. Thus, while the USDA organic label does signify that a product is GMO-free, and there are voluntary GMO-free labeling efforts, American consumers are largely left in the dark.