Still, the vast majority of Americans say GMOs are different, and should be clearly labeled.
"Since the foods are not labeled, we have no way to really ascertain what are the kinds of impacts that people are having who are consuming GMOs, and those who are not," said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman. "Americans have a right to know what's in our food and the right to know how it's been grown."
And Ishii-Eiteman has a surprising ally: The CEO of Monsanto:
"We've been for voluntary labeling for quite some time," said Grant.
"I'm surprised," said Petersen, " 'cause I would think that if there's one company that didn't want people to have GMO on a label when they walk through a grocery store, it would be Monsanto."
"If we're going to be transparent with this, we should really open it up," Grant replied. "To me, that makes sense."
What no one disputes is this: The controversy over GMOs is creating an ever-lengthening approval process in countries around the world.
Take vitamin-enriched Golden Rice, which could help 250 million children who have a sometimes-fatal vitamin A deficiency.
"We absolutely have to have food that's safe," said Dr. Pam Ronald. "But what's been put into the Golden Rice is a pigment that we eat every day, or should eat every day, in carrots. And as we impose additional regulatory hurdles that are not placed on other crops, many children are dying every day."
Faced with increasing anti-GMO public opinion, the push to ban them is accelerating in rich countries where there is so much food that obesity is a major health issue.
Yet, their biggest impact could one day be on the increasingly hungry third world -- a lesson not lost of Dennis Gonsalves, the man whose genetic engineering saved Hawaii's papayas.
"We in the United States, we're rich, we have a lot of food, no problem," he said. "But a lot of these people in these other countries don't have much food. And that reaction is really harming the people most in need."
For more info:
- Delan Perry's Volcano Isle Fruit Company
- Hawaii Papaya Industry Association
- Dennis Gonsalves, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University
- Dr. Pam Ronald, University of California - Davis
- Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Pesticide Action Network
- The Facts About GMOs
- Plant Breeding (Science Daily)
- GMO Safety (EU)
- Federation of American Scientists: U.S. Regulation of Genetically Modified Crops
- Occupy Monsanto
- Non-GMO Project
- Seeds of Deception
- Center for Food Safety: Genetically Engineered Foods
- Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis
- Sunnyside Organic Seedlings
- Golden Rice Project
- Cornell Alliance for Science