One State, One World

The Biotech Debate

While genetically modified foods have become commonplace in America, European public debate about biotech has been rife with references to “Frankenfoods.”

back of greens labelled organic

Photo: Peter Blanchard (Flickr)

Many genetically modified foods are banned in the European Union, while those that are allowed in are required to be labeled as genetically modified.

The introduction of genetically modified foods since the 1990’s has provoked different reactions in Europe and the US.

While these products have become commonplace in America, European public debate about biotech has been rife with references to “Frankenfoods.”

Advocates of genetically modified foods in the U.S. argue that they increase crop yields and decrease overall costs. Those in favor of labeling genetically modified foods assert that these claims have not been proven, and that the risks have not be completely assessed.

Indeed, many genetically modified foods are banned in the European Union, while those that are allowed in are required to be labeled as genetically modified.

The issue has been a source of friction in relations with the US, which has brought complaints about EU policies to the World Trade Organization.

According to USDA figures, in 2010 83 percent of the corn and 95% percent of the soybeans planted in Indiana were genetically engineered, making their exports to Europe more difficult.

Learn More

This episode of One State One World is produced in partnership with the EU Center at Indiana University.

Read more about the European Union on the EU Center’s blog, Across the Pond.