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Genetically Modified Organisms

A term, currently used most often in international trade discussions, that designates crops that carry new traits that have been inserted through advanced genetic engineering methods (e.g., Flavr Saver tomato, Roundup Ready soybeans, Bt cotton, Bt corn). GMO crops are meeting resistence from some trading partners, particularly the European Union, that are responding in turn to consumer concerns over public health and environmental safety aspects of GMOs. USDA also is being pressured to declare GMOs unacceptable in the proposed National Organic Program. The U.S. scientific community maintains that research shows GMOs to be safe and that the regulatory process for their commercial approval, which includes USDA, Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, is an adequate safeguard against any potential problems.

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