GMO Food

A Reference Handbook

by David E. Newton


95 percent of U.S.-grown corn and soybeans are genetically modified products.

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Cover image for GMO Food

October 2014


Pages 336
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Science and Technology

Providing an exhaustive background on the history of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops and foods as well as the controversies surrounding these products, this book allows readers to develop their own particular viewpoint on the production and use of GMO substances.

Genetic engineering has long been used to impart desirable characteristics to food plants in order to improve crop yield, pest resistance, and herbicide tolerance. Genetic modification of foods, however, has created a storm of controversy everywhere in the world—including the United States. What are the benefits of and risks involved with genetically modified organisms (GMO) and crops? What powerful industry pressures have extended the sale and use of GMO foods and crops globally? And how should consumer food products that involve GM ingredients be labeled? GMO Food: A Reference Handbook addresses these questions and the complex issues involved, allowing readers to fully understand why genetically modified organisms represent one of the most important issues in the 21st century.

The book provides clear, factual information and background on the history of genetically modified crops and foods, covering topics such as the historic methods of plant and animal modification (such as cross-breeding) and important discoveries in genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetic engineering, and related fields; the social, political, philosophical, and economic issues that have arisen with these scientific advances; and the laws and regulations that have resulted from the range of attitudes about GMO foods. The book also supplies additional resources for readers performing extensive research in an annotated bibliography of books, articles, reports, and web pages.


  • Presents both historical and current views of the topic that provide readers with a neutral presentation of the hard science as well as the social issues in question
  • Includes perspective essays written by individuals with expertise in issues related to the production and distribution of GMO foods in the United States and other parts of the world
  • Assesses the long-existing differences in attitudes toward the development and commercialization of GMO foods and crops in the United States versus in the European Union
  • Addresses the ongoing debate regarding whether and how genetically modified products should be labeled for sale
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

David E. Newton has been a freelance writer of non-fiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia articles as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other publications. Newton was formerly a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University.



"This installment in the Contemporary World Issues series is a well-researched and balanced reference that provides the reader with an invaluable, expertly compiled resource impartially documenting the controversial topic of genetically modified foods. . . . This valuable reference is recommended for high-school, academic, and public libraries."Booklist

"With ample access to data and documents such as court cases and government protocols, in addition to an annotated bibliography, helpful glossary, and a detailed timeline, this book is a go-to resource on the globally vital subject of GMOs." ARBAonline

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