Worldwide cultivation of genetically modified organisms
The global use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture is growing. This development, which is linked to agricultural intensification, increases the probability of unintentional release of GMO into the environment. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to separate flows of products that do or do not contain GMO.
A global increase in agricultural GMO use has been detected since the start of the survey, primarily in emerging countries. The five countries with the highest cultivation of GMOs in 2018 were: USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. In Europe, the area under cultivation is very small (less than 0.5 million ha in 2017).
In Switzerland, the use of GMO in agricultural production (seeds) is currently prohibited by a moratorium. A guarantee that products are GMO-free is provided to consumers by importers of food and animal feed, who must comply with labelling requirements. The importers effect controls at each stage of transport, from the site of production to import into Switzerland. Only four varieties of GM plants, for food and animal feed, are legally authorised for import into Switzerland.
Domestic production covers only 60% of food consumed in Switzerland, and the import of products from abroad is unavoidable. Current developments at a global level show that it is increasingly difficult for importers to guarantee a supply of GMO-free produce.
Nevertheless, we will not evaluate the current state or the development of this indicator. Although the use of GMO in worldwide agriculture is making the separation of GM and non-GM product flows increasingly difficult, control mechanisms allow risks of contamination to be reduced.
Since 1995, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) has performed an annual survey of authorities and private individuals, and evaluated existing statistics. The findings are broken down further by the ISAAA (e.g. by type of GMO, or by country).