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What are Genetically Modified Organisms?

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any item that has been altered at the molecular level.

In agriculture, GMOs are typically created in order to boost yields, improve quality, and repel insects.


  • An international panel of scientists found that genetically altered crops are as safe as traditional crops.
  • Genetic modification allows crops to be grown with additional vitamins and nutrients.
  • Crops can also be engineered to repel certain insects.
  • Foods might be grown in places that are today ridden with drought or floods.


  • Many scientists believe that GMOs increase new toxins and allergens in foods.
  • May increase the use of chemicals.
  • May create herbicide-resistant weeds.
  • May disturb the ecological balance.

For More Information:
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Union of Concerned Scientists
Public Broadcasting Service
Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology

What are GAPs?

Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, are the FDA guidelines for minimum sanitary and safety requirements to be used while growing and harvesting crops. These requirements include the areas of:

  • Site selection
  • Manure handling
  • Irrigation methods
  • Equipment, field, and storage sanitation
  • Worker hygiene and training
  • Proper storage temperature maintenance

For example, before a farmer begins planting crops, he/she will create a blueprint of the specific practices needed to maintain the safety of all those connected with the operation, especially the end-user.

What are GMPs?

Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, are the minimum sanitary and processing requirements issued by the FDA (under section 520 of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act) that a company must uphold.

Within the foodservice industry these typically consist of maintaining:

  • A clean kitchen
  • A safe water supply
  • Good personal hygiene of all employees
  • A consistent and thorough employee training system
  • An up-to-date pest control program

Most foodservice industry companies use GMPs to write more specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and to implement a comprehensive food safety program.