Update on Major Genetic Food Developments Since September 15
Several developments in October and early November add uncertainty to the future demand prospects for genetically modified crops. In mid-November, about 50 members of the U.S. Congress introduced a bill that would require U.S. food to be identified with a genetic origin label if one or more ingredients has 0.1% or more of genetically modified material. That is an even closer tolerance level than EU' s one percent. Also, Japan's three futures markets indicate they plan to offer two separate types of soybean futures contracts starting in April of 2000: non-GMO and GMO contracts. Reports from Reuter News Service, a major and widely respected international news service, indicated last month that some Japanese processors were paying premiums of 40 to 50 cents and 50 to 60 cents per bushel, respectively, for non-GMO com and soybeans. Brazil has extended its ban on planting of GMO soybeans for at least three years, and has substantially tightened penalties for planting such soybeans. Penalties include destroying the crop.