The U.S. Food & Drug Administration launched a new educational initiative called “Feed Your Mind” to help consumers better understand genetically engineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The initiative was developed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide consumers with science-based educational information to better understand how GMOs are made, learn more about the types of crops that have been modified, address questions they may have about the health and safety of GMOs as well as explain how GMOs are regulated in the U.S.
“Feed Your Mind” features a wide range of resources designed specifically for consumers, health care professionals and students. These materials feature new web content, fact sheets and videos using common language, engaging graphics and stories to provide information about genetically engineered foods, including information about the history of genetic modifications in agriculture. This initiative is an ongoing effort, with additional materials such as a professional learning series for dietitians and supplementary science curriculum for high schools planned for release later in 2020 and 2021.
Most of the GMO crops grown today were developed to help farmers prevent crop loss. The three most common traits found in GMO crops are:
- Resistance to insect damage;
- Tolerance to herbicides, and
- Resistance to plant viruses.
“Feed Your Mind” materials are based on extensive formative research. To guide development of the initiative, FDA, USDA and EPA:
- Sought input from stakeholders through two public meetings;
- Opened a docket to receive public comments;
- Conducted more than 40 focus groups selected to represent the diverse backgrounds of consumers around the country, and
- Consulted experts in agricultural biotechnology, education and communication.
Funding for “Feed Your Mind” was provided by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 as the Agricultural Biotechnology Education & Outreach Initiative to provide consumers with science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts of foods derived from agricultural biotechnology techniques, such as genetic engineering.