DEFINITION of 'Genetically Modified Food (GMF)'

Food that is produced from organisms that have had their genes engineered to introduce traits that have not been created through natural selection. Genetically modified foods have been commercially available since the 1990s, and is most often associated with fruits and vegetables. Genetically modifying a food involves introducing a gene into a fruit, vegetable, or animal from another organism. Broad scientific consensus suggests that genetically modified foods present no more danger than conventional food.

BREAKING DOWN 'Genetically Modified Food (GMF)'

Proponents of genetically modified foods point to the benefits of introducing desirable genetic traits into food. For example, scientists may engineer fruits and vegetables to have higher yields, to resist certain diseases or pests, or to be able to tolerate pesticides or herbicides.  The 20th century Green Revolution owed much of its success to the introduction of plants that could produce higher yields in more adverse conditions, such as in the presence of less water. Norman Borlaug won a Nobel Prize for his work with wheat, and helped drastically improve wheat yields in Mexico, India, and Pakistan since the 1950s.

Critics of genetically modified foods have argued that this type of food should be labeled differently than food produced conventionally. They argue that there is uncertainty as to the effect of genetically modified organisms on the health of consumers, as well as to the impact of such organisms on the environment. For example, genetically modified organisms may squeeze out conventional fruits and vegetables from the environment, which may impact the animals, insects, and other organisms that have traditionally used those plants to survive. Other theoretical threats are that genes from genetically modified organisms may move to conventional crops (outcrossing), or may be transferred from food to the consumer.

Several countries have passed or proposed legislation regulating the development and use of genetically modified organisms in the food supply.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Genetic Engineering

    The artificial modification of an organism’s genetic composition. ...
  2. Modified Following

    A contractual feature in an exchange involving the implied automatic ...
  3. Transatlantic Trade and Investment ...

    What is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?
  4. Modified Sharpe Ratio

    A ratio used to calculate the risk-adjusted performance of an ...
  5. Food Industry ETF

    An exchange-traded fund that invests in food and beverage companies, ...
  6. Engel's Law

    An economic theory introduced in 1857 by Ernst Engel, a German ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    Is Organic Really Worth The Extra Money?

    It's the shopping decision that seems to pit thrift against family health. Find out when buying "organic" matters most.
  2. Insights

    Whole Foods 365: The Economics of Discount Organic

    Whole Foods Market is expanding its brand to create a chain of discount natural food stores called 365 by Whole Foods Market. With the high cost of producing, shipping and selling organic food, ...
  3. Trading

    Using Genetic Algorithms To Forecast Financial Markets

    Genetic algorithms are unique ways to solve complex problems by harnessing the power of nature.
  4. Investing

    What are Genetic Algorithms?

    Genetic algorithms are problem-solving methods that mimic natural evolution processes.
  5. Insurance

    How To Eat Healthy Food And Save Money

    With the organic food market continuing to thrive, we look at ways in which the modern consumer can cut his or her costs while still eating healthy food.
  6. Investing

    Why Organic Food Is So Expensive

    Discover how organic farmers face many obstacles. Learn why your organics cost so much more than conventional foods and if there is any hope for falling prices.
  7. Investing

    Dannon To Label Food That Has GMO Ingredients

    Dannon will start labeling products that include genetically modified ingredients as legislation begins to force the food industry to follow suit.
  8. Investing

    What's Next for Whole Foods? (WFM)

    Whole Foods market posted mixed results this quarter and the stock price increased.
  9. Investing

    How Expensive Is Whole Foods, Really? (WFM)

    Learn about Whole Foods Market, Inc., and discover how Whole Foods pricing actually compares to that of other grocery store operations.
  10. Managing Wealth

    Farmers Markets—Gaining Ground in Grocery Sector

    Farmers markets have gained a solid foothold in the grocery sector, but it seems that large retailers will retain the lion's share of the industry.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What countries are driving most of the growth of the food and beverage sector?

    Learn about the countries, primarily emerging market nations, that are currently driving most of the growth in the food and ... Read Answer >>
  2. Who are Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors?

    Learn more about Whole Foods Markets, who insists its products are sustainable. Thanks to the competition, however, its marketing ... Read Answer >>
  3. For what financial instruments is a modified duration relevant?

    Find out about modified duration, financial instruments the modified duration is used for and how to calculate the modified ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does the risk of investing in the food and beverage sector compare to the broader ...

    Find out why investing in the food and beverage sector is generally considered to be less risky than investments in the broader ... Read Answer >>
  5. What emerging markets are best positioned to benefit from growth in the food and ...

    Examine emerging market economies and learn which ones are currently projected to offer the highest growth rates for the ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are some of the most common mutual funds that give exposure to the food and ...

    Take a look at some of the most popular mutual funds that investors consider for obtaining exposure to the food and beverage ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
  2. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  3. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  4. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  5. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
  6. Job Market

    A market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as ...
Trading Center