What is 'Genetically Modified Food (GMF)'

Genetically Modified Food (GMF) 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.

GMF Controversy and Critics

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 longer-term 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 (cross fertilization), 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. Others have taken steps to ban them outright. For example, more than half the 28 countries in the European Union, including Germany and France, have decided to ban their farmers from growing genetically modified crops, but importation of GMF for animal feed is still legal. Several regions, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also joined the anti-GMF movement, but the UK itself has no formal GMF ban.

Only one GM crop has ever been approved and grown in Europe – a type of maize with in-built resistance to a weevil called the European corn borer – but the only farmers to grow it are primarily in Spain where the weevils are a problem. The map below shows which countries around the world have full, partial or no restrictions on GMF.

Countries in Red have GMF Prohibitions as of 2016

  1. Modified Sharpe Ratio

    A ratio used to calculate the risk-adjusted performance of an ...
  2. Modified Cash Basis

    The modified cash basis method combines elements of the two major ...
  3. Genomics

    The study of the genome, which is the complete set of the genetic ...
  4. Transatlantic Trade and Investment ...

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is ...
  5. Modified Tenure Payment Plan

    A modified tenure payment plan is a way to receive reverse mortgage ...
  6. Modified Accrual Accounting

    An accounting method commonly used by government agencies that ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Genetic Technologies Launches ADS Offering (GENE)

    Genetic Technologies expects to raise more than $6 million through an offering of its American Depositary Shares.
  2. Trading

    Using Genetic Algorithms To Forecast Financial Markets

    Genetic algorithms are unique ways to solve complex problems by harnessing the power of nature.
  3. 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, ...
  4. 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.
  5. Investing

    Seattle Genetics 4Q Loss 39 Cents/Share Misses Street

    Seattle Genetics reported a higher-than-expected 4Q loss of $44 million, or 39 cents a share.
  6. Insights

    Top Agricultural Producing Countries

    Discover which countries produce the most agricultural products, which export the most and what is being done to increase production.
  7. Investing

    Genetic Technologies In Colorectal Cancer Pact (GENE)

    The deal will help establish Genetic Technologies as a player in the cancer-test landscape.
  8. Investing

    What's Next for Whole Foods? (WFM)

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

    Read This Before You Sell Your Whole Foods Stock (WFM)

    While Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) stock may have pulled back about 9% in the past month, shares are still up a nice 36% in the past six months. With such impressive gains over a short period, ...
  10. Investing

    Why Food Is Still Cheap In America

    When food prices rise, they have a huge effect on developing nations, and barely affect the American middle class.
  1. What is the difference between Macaulay duration and modified duration?

    Find out more about the Macaulay duration and modified duration, how to calculate them and the difference between the Macaulay ... Read Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. Are there leveraged ETFs that follow the food and beverage sector?

    Discover whether it is possible for investors to utilize leveraged exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, to access the food and ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are the primary risks an investor should consider when investing in the food ...

    Understand some of the various risk factors investors should consider when seeking investment opportunities in the food and ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Standard Deviation

    A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean, calculated as the square root of the variance. The more spread ...
  2. Entrepreneur

    An Entrepreneur is an individual who founds and runs a small business and assumes all the risk and reward of the venture. ...
  3. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  4. Perfect Competition

    Pure or perfect competition is a theoretical market structure in which a number of criteria such as perfect information and ...
  5. Compound Interest

    Compound Interest is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods ...
  6. Income Statement

    A financial statement that measures a company's financial performance over a specific accounting period. Financial performance ...
Trading Center