What Foods are Genetically Modified?

Lasted edited on May 15, 2015.
Originally posted on November 13, 2014.

GMOs – genetically modified organisms – have been the topic of many food discussions. With so much talk of GMOs and GM foods, you may be surprised to know there are currently only eight genetically modified crops available in the United States. Three more have been approved but are not yet available in the market. Keep reading after the infographic to learn more about each GM crop.



Corn (field & sweet)
The GM version of field corn protects the crop against corn rootworms and the Asian corn borer. Like GM field corn, GM sweet corn also protects the crop against destructive pests.

The GM soybean plant is resistant to pests and disease as well as being tolerant of herbicides that are most effective, allowing for less herbicide use overall.

GM cotton requires fewer pesticides and protects against the cotton bollworm.

Canola has been modified through biotechnology to make it tolerant to some herbicides. This allows for a reduced amount of chemicals needed for weed control. The modified plant also has resistance to pests and fungus.

The GM version of alfalfa is tolerant of some herbicides, allowing for a reduced amount of chemicals needed for weed control.

Sugar Beets
The GM sugar beet has increased tolerance to some herbicides, allowing for a reduced amount of chemicals needed for weed control. GM sugar beets also have virus and pest resistance traits.

The GM version of papaya makes the plant resistant to the prevalent Papaya Ringspot Virus.

GM squash has traits that improve the plant’s defense against viruses.

Arctic Apple
Developed by Okanagan Specialy Fruits of British Columbia, Canada, this new fruit was developed by turning off the enzyme in apples that cause them to brown when cut, bruised or bitten.

Innate Potato
This new potato that resists browning and has fewer unsightly wasteful bruises has been approved by the USDA for commercial planting.

Aquabounty Salmon
This new salmon is genetically engineered to reach market size more quickly than non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

Arctic apples, Innate potatoes and Aquabounty Salmon have all been approved but are not yet available to consumers.

Want to learn more about GMOs from the experts? Try these posts:

What does a GMO look like?

Produce” by lukestehr is licensed under CC BY ND.

  • Christopher Dresbach

    This is a limited article that does not mention the dangers of using Roundup, herbicides in any quantities, and pesticides in any quantities at all. The FDA processes are not as extensive as they would have us to believe and they do their best to keep the public from knowing.

    • Hi Christopher,

      This post is to share what foods on the market today have been genetically modified. We have several other posts on the site that go into more details on different aspects of GMOs and genetic modification. Here are a few:

      Are We Being Poisoned By Glyphosate? https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/is-glyphosate-poison/
      Frequently Asked Questions – GMO https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/faqsgmos/
      GMOs – What to Know https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/gmos-what-to-know/

      If you still have unanswered questions, please let us know and we would be glad to reach out to an expert for an answer! https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/ask-a-question/

    • Der Bengel

      That’s because, Christopher, if you haven’t been following the trends around here, they are trying to convince everyone to jump onto the GMO bandwagon. Keep them ignorant and sing a good song with a nice smile, and you can draw them by the millions.

      • At Best Food Facts, we encourage everyone to make the good choices that are right for them. We provide information from experts to give you the facts you need to make those decisions.

        • colbey

          i wonder if you could provide info on where your experts are employed, and who is paying them?
          in the case of those who are working at universities or other educational institutions, could you list where some of the school’s or department’s funding comes from??

          • The experts who volunteer with Best Food Facts come from a variety of fields with many of them employed by universities throughout the United States and Canada. Find out more about all of our 200 experts https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/about-the-experts/. All of the experts volunteer to answer questions and provide their expertise to Best Food Facts.

  • Christopher Dresbach
  • John

    As a plant scientist and a consumer, I am perplexed by labels that tout “Non-GMO”, when not a single ingredient in the product could have been derived from a transgenic version of the food crop. It seems to be more of a marketing ploy to imply some undescribed advantage. It seems to also be fraudulent. Are there any laws governing false labeling ?

    • Sounds like you want some glyphosate, mmm mmm Cancer and Brain Damage!

    • summer

      seriously?! if the public was more informed and aware what was GMO then such labels wouldn’t need to exist. NON gmo labels that may seen silly to a scientist who is well informed may actually be appreciated and informative to a consumer trying to avoid GMO but lacking the knowledge of what is GMO. i would hardly call this false labeling. Have u ever seen gluten free lables on products that clearly have no gluten.. clearly to me. but i guess not the general public.. same thing.

      • Agricultural Science

        The labels do promote fear and ignorance!!!

    • Bain

      Not really, John. As long as the label is truthful (the thing inside matches the label), it’s not considered “false.” That’s why you will find a non-GMO label on some containers of salt (no, I am not making this up). In general, the non-GMO label is a marketing tool that can be used to justify charging a premium price for consumer goods (such as the aforementioned salt). I would actually prefer a labeling system that identifies which ingredients are GMO and why (e.g. contains papaya that has been genetically modified resist ringspot virus or contains sweet corn genetically modified to tolerate pesticide) as that type of label would communicate useful information to the consumer. It would, coincidentally, also take all of the profit out of the non-GMO project mark, but they don’t seem interested in education in general.

      It’s actually quite different from the gluten-free example identified by another comment, as I recently learned. There are some gluten-containing substances used in food processing that don’t have to be listed as an ingredient. (Such substances might be used, for example, to keep processed food from sticking to equipment.) Gluten-free products may also be made on shared equipment, which creates a risk of cross-contamination. If a person has celiac disease, any amount of gluten will damage their digestive tract, so they want to avoid these options.

    • Agricultural Science

      It just people taking advantage of ignorant people who do not understand GMOs or science in general.

  • Der Bengel

    What do you mean…ONLY 8??? That is 8 too many bud!

  • Concerned Granny

    John, I do not have a problem in companies making a ‘Non GMO’ statement on their product labels. As Bain stated, there must be ‘truth in labelling.’ Some manufacturers who knowingly or unknowingly, make a non gmo claim on their products when there is an ingredient present that was sourced from gm material, leave themselves open to litigation, product recalls and potential business collapse. No company wants to make the claim, ‘contains gm ingredients’. At least those companies making the non gmo claim will have taken some steps to ensure their statement cannot be challenged.

  • Alex

    > “Every genetically modified crop goes through extensive testing….” Are you kidding? I don’t know who is paying Dr. Kevin Folta, or who made this infographic / article, but clearly some real facts and unbiased truth are missing, to say the least. What a shame this type of stuff is spread to infect the minds of the masses and give them a false sense of security.

    • Dr. Kevin Folta is a highly regarded expert in plant breeding employed by the University of Florida. Dr. Folta, like all of the experts on Best Food Facts, volunteers to provide accurate, scientifically based answers to questions about food. Our mission is to provide information so you can make the decisions that are best for you about what foods to eat. Let us know if you have any resources and/or experts you recommend we reach out to.

    • Agricultural Science

      Please post the scientific studies that show that GMO crops are harmful. Hint: they don’t exist.

      • Sophie

        If I may, “The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

        Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

        The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.” The institute for responsible technology.

      • Sophie

        Also, “GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.” Institute for Responsible Technology

  • Agricultural Science

    This is very similar to the insanity surrounding the “organic” craze. I have seen organic water and organic salt advertised. Both of which are inorganic molecules. It is also amusing that organic farmers can use inorganic salts for pest control (copper sulfate, zinc sulfate) but not pesticides which are organic molecules.

    • Maggie32

      Isn’t that because copper and zinc are naturally in the soil?

      • Agricultural Science

        I don’t think that is the reason they are allowed. Copper and zinc are naturally found in the soil, but not on the leaves where they are applied to control fungal diseases. Also, if that is allowed, why can’t muriate of potash be used as a potassium source. Nitrogen and phosphorus and all the other required nutrients are found in soil.

  • It is what they put on the crops that is the bigger threat. They use glyphosate on many crops even NON-GMO.

  • Theveindran K N

    Here is a link that will help you explore the truth further. http://www.gmosrevealed.com/

    The article above is written without proper research and citations of the various research papers and expert opinions from various sources. This is a totally irresponsible act.

    • Kristin “Kiki” Klun

      You do realize your “responsible” website features a photo of someone injecting a tomato, implying that there are GMO tomatoes? That is straight fear mongering.

  • excusemebut2

    This article claims herbicide resistant GMOs cause less pesticides to be used. This is a false unproven claim. Herbicide use has not declined, and those being used are often less effective over time…an endless treadmill.
    Round up now tank mixed with 24d, the dicambra fiasco….all of this enabled by HR GMO’s.
    Breeding plants to have the pesticide integral. Is that reducing pesticide use?
    In the real world not so much. We are also planting treated seed that is so toxic it is dangerous to handle, is that included in the “less pesticides used” claim. Nope.
    In actual fact this list shows the uselessness of GMO technology. It really has not done much at all. Like Golden Rice, millions spent, nothing achieved. How come that was not on the list. I know, I know hand up. It is a failure.

  • One on One

    So does that mean cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli are not yet GMO? How do we know what they use on them for pesticides and if they are frozen has the vegetable been washed before freezing? Exactly how do you remove all pesticide and herbicide residue from produce? Are “organic” foods gmo that are grown in organic soil or are they truly what the public wants to believe completely heritage, organically grown produce? Why is it so hard for farming to use strictly healthy nutrients to condition the soil we grow our food in? it only makes sense that growing crops with a pesticide inside the seed is going to cause problems! Does the US really have any heritage seed remaining?

  • Christian Cook

    great page learned so much!!