Can you tell the difference between GMO and non-GMO crops?

When it comes to the subject of GMOs — genetically modified organisms — nobody sits on the fence, calmly watching the cornstalks swaying in the breeze. The farmers, some of them anyway, look at their fertile fields and count their bushels and their bucks; the seed purveyors survey the results of their complex scientific handiwork and convince themselves that they're helping to feed — to save — humankind. Concerned consumers, environmentalists, and the kinds of farmers who irrigate their soil with their own sweat, meanwhile, see not corn or cash or glorious technology, but something unnatural, something dangerous, something evil. That other lot just shakes their heads and says, ”Hey, we've been fooling Mother Nature for centuries. That’s how we domesticated plants and animals. That’s how we built civilization. GMOs are just a more efficient way of growing things, good for everybody.” GMOs, in other words, are a matter for debate.

That's why we at The Daily Meal thought we should tackle it as a group project. About two months ago, we got together and started talking about GMOs, and we decided to put together a special report — our first on this scale — to address what we all agree was a vitally important, maddeningly multi-faceted topic. We divided up the labor, delved into the considerable research on the subject, and spoke with the experts — on both sides of the issue. We ended up with a dozen prose takes on the subject and three videos, covering it from, well, not every angle — that would take a hundred takes, a thousand — but what we felt were the most important ones.

Haley Willard defined the basics with The ABCs of GMOs. Lauren Gordon scored in-depth interviews for The GMO Debate: A Farmer vs. Monsanto, told us which crops were most likely to be GMOs in The 8 Most Genetically Modified Crops, and addressed the contentious issue of identifying GMOs in Should GMO Foods Be Labeled, (Along the way, she also functioned as the de facto editor of this whole package.) Jess Novak looked at international GMO laws in How the World Regulates GMOs and investigated the different forms protests against these foods take in Anti-GMO Activists Take a Stand. Emily Jacobs investigated farmed GMO fish in 'Frankenfish' or a Way to Feed Us All? and compiled a useful roster of groups concerned with GMO issues, entitled A List of GMO Awareness Organizations. Dan Myers interviewed top chefs to get their takes for How Do Leading Chefs Feel About GMOs? and revealed 15 Brands You Didn't Know Were GMO-Free. Jonathan Hirsch followed the money in The Economic Issues Surrounding GMOs. I constructed a GMO timeline. We're not solving any problems here, but we hope we're adding to the conversation, and maybe nudging a few people off the fence.

— Colman Andrews, Editorial Director




The History of GMOs