Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs were first introduced into Americas’ food supply in 1996, and there were 7 million acres of crops worldwide that were using GMO seeds. As of 2004, the crop size worldwide that uses GMO seeds had grown to 222 million acres with approximately 63% of those in the United States alone (253). As of 2008, more than 90 percent of soy crops and 75 percent of corn in the United States were raised from genetically modified seeds. As of now, in the United States, there are still no regulations to mandate the labeling of food products that contain GMOs. The United States only requires labeling of genetically modified foods if the food has a significantly different nutritional property, or unexpected allergens, or if the food contains toxins that are higher than acceptable levels. Most developed countries throughout the world have adopted differing regulations pertaining to labeling food products containing GMOs, although with some controversy.
While the mandatory labeling requirements were enacted to allow consumer choice of whether or not to purchase foods that contain GMOs, mandatory labeling in the European Union and Japan for example, has resulted in retailers not stocking genetically modified foods on their shelves due to the perceived consumer aversion to genetically modified foods. Advocates of genetically modified foods argue that consumers already have a choice in what they can purchase, whether it is processed foods with traditionally grown ingredients, genetically modified processed foods or organic foods. The consumers of these nations voiced their opinions loudly, that they had the right to know if GMOs were in the food products they were buying, and their governments listened.