Ever since genetically modified crops were first planted, their acreage has been growing each year at double-digit rates.
It happened again last year, with acres planted increasing 11 percent, to 222 million acres. Small farmers in countries such as China, India, and Brazil are making more use of GMO plants that allow them to grow more crops while reducing pesticide use.
Rice is Next
Rice could be the next important food crop to go GMO; Iran is already using gene-altered rice and China is poised to do so next. Rice comprises nearly half the total calories eaten by the human race.
Nearly a third of the agricultural land in the United States is planted in gene-altered crops. In Argentina and Paraguay, more than half of the fields are sown with GMO plants. In China, perhaps 2,000 scientists are developing a wide variety of modified crops.
Europe, where advocacy groups have long pointed out the environmental risks of GMO crops, has been slower to adopt them. However, five European countries are now growing some biotech crops, and Spain uses them widely.
Even if the U.S. Department of Agriculture starts taking action on the spread of genetically modified crops in the United States, that won't stop their proliferation in other nations.
America currently leads the world in GM crop acreage with 123 million, but it's followed by Argentina (42 million) and Brazil (23 million). Soybeans topped the list of GM crops worldwide at 60 percent, followed by maize (24 percent) and cotton (11 percent).
Although the above report claims the thrust of GM crop growth is an altruistic one -- to alleviate hunger, poverty and malnutrition worldwide -- it is nothing more than a marketing spin. All that tinkering with nature comes at a heavy price: The creation of Frankenstein-like crop combinations that can harm your health.
Chances are very good you've eaten GM foods: At least seven out of 10 items at your neighborhood grocery store contain them. That said, there are some steps you can take that will help you steer clear of them: