By: Saurabh Goyal --
28 October, 2012
Genetically modified Roundup Ready (GM RR) soy was developed by Monsanto and was first commercialized in the United States in 1996. Due to the RR gene, a crop can be sprayed with glyphosate, which kills weeds and other plants but allows the crop to continue to grow. Farmers across the world find it difficult to buy and cultivate GM crops due to the high costs involved. Farmers must pay a licensing fee and sign a contract with the biotechnology company for limited permission to plant patented seeds for a single crop season. The percentage a farmer spends on seeds has almost doubled in the last 20 years. As a result of high productivity, however, more than 80% of soy harvest is currently from GM seeds. Serious safety concerns about the transgenic modifications introduced into GM RR soy have been raised. Contrary to claims by the GM industry and its supporters, the US Food and Drug Administration has never approved GM soy seed as safe. A number of studies have revealed that health hazards and toxic effects are associated with GM RR soy. The debate between natural food and GM seed adoption is largely based on various economic and agricultural productivity benefits, as well as health and environmental costs.