Types Of GMO Crops & Foods, What Traits They're Engineered For, & What They're Used For

Types Of GMO Crops & Foods, What Traits They’re Engineered For, & What They’re Used For

In this very short guide, we outline the common types of GMO Crops and Foods grown and available commercially in a few different countries.

We also outline the genetic traits engineered into these crops and foods, and what they are used for.


Types Of GMO Crops & Foods

  • There are 10 genetically modified crops commercially available in the US today: alfalfa, apples, canola, corn (field and sweet), cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets.
  • The majority of these crops, like alfalfa, field corn and soy are actually used for livestock feed. Other uses for these crops include common food ingredients, such as sugar, canola oil, corn starch and soy lecithin. You may find only a few of these in your produce section: rainbow papaya, summer squash, sweet corn, potatoes and apples.

– gmoanswers.com


  • In the US, by 2014, 94% of the planted area of soybeans, 96% of cotton and 93% of corn were genetically modified varieties. 

– wikipedia.org


  • In recent years, GM crops expanded rapidly in developing countries. In 2013, approximately 18 million farmers grew 54% of worldwide GM crops in developing countries.

– wikipedia.org


  • Globally, food-producing animals consume 70% to 90% of genetically engineered crop biomass, mostly corn and soybean. In the United States alone, animal agriculture produces over 9 billion food-producing animals annually, and more than 95% of these animals consume feed containing GE ingredients. 

– forbes.com


GMO Crops & Foods In The United States – What Genetic Traits They Are Engineered For, & What They’re Used For

There are 10 genetically modified crops commercially available in the US today. The traits they are engineered for and the uses they have are:


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Herbicide Tolerance
  • Used For: Animal feed


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Non Browning
  • Used For: Food


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Herbicide tolerance
  • Used For: Cooking oil, animal feed

Field Corn

  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Insect resistance, herbicide tolerance, drought tolerance
  • Used For: Livestock feed, poultry feed, fuel ethanol, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners, corn oil, starch, cereal and other food ingredients, alcohol, industrial uses

Sweet Corn

  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Insect resistance, herbicide tolerance
  • Used For: Food


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Insect resistance, herbicide tolerance
  • Used For: Fiber, animal feed, cottonseed oil

Rainbow Papaya

  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Disease resistance
  • Used For: Table fruit


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Reduced bruising and black spots, non browning, low acrylamide (a chemical that can form when certain starchy foods are cooked or processed, and is linked to cancer in rats), blight resistance (blight is a fungal disease that affects tomatoes and potatoes)
  • Used For: Food


  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Insect resistance, herbicide tolerance
  • Used For: Livestock and poultry feed, aquaculture, soybean oil (vegetable oil), high oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid), biodiesel fuel, soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, other foods, lecithin, pet food, adhesives and building materials, printing ink, other industrial uses

Summer Squash

  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Disease resistance, food
  • Used For: Food

Sugar Beets

  • Genetic Traits (engineered for): Herbicide tolerance
  • Used For: Sugar, animal feed

– gmoanswers.com


GMO Crops & Foods In Australia – What Genetic Traits They Are Engineered For, & What They’re Used For

A country like Australia has far more restrictive regulations on growing GE foods and crops than the United States.


In 2016, there are only two commercial GM broad-acre crops grown in Australia:

  • GM cotton – More than 99% of planted cotton in Australia is GM.There are three types of GM cotton in use and all are owned by Bayer or Monsanto, which are on the brink of merging. Two of these cottons are herbicide-tolerant to help the control of weeds, and the other has an inbuilt resistance to a pest, reducing the need for insecticides.
  • GM canola – There are six types of GM canola licenced for use in Australia. All have been developed to be resistant to the herbicides used to control weeds. Five of these are owned by Bayer or Monsanto.

These are both found in many margarines and frying oils. 

Other GM crops being developed and trialled around Australia (but not yet commercially available) include sugarcane, safflower, banana, wheat, barley and white clover.

– choice.com.au


Growing GE Food vs Importing GE Food Ingredients

A country like Australia that is restrictive on growing GE (genetically engineered) foods may make more of an allowance for imported GE food ingredients.

For example, in Australia, they allow the following GE food ingredients in common foods available in supermarkets:

  • Imported GM (genetically modified) soya
  • Imported GM corn
  • Imported GM sugar beet
  • Cottonseed oil from GM cotton
  • Imported GM potatoes
  • GM canola

– choice.com.au



1. https://gmoanswers.com/gmo-myths-vs-facts

2. https://gmoanswers.com/sites/default/files/GMOA-GeneticTraits10crops-4x6_Postcard-Jan2018.pdf

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism 

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/09/17/the-debate-about-gmo-safety-is-over-thanks-to-a-new-trillion-meal-study/#526d98a68a63 

5. https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/food-warnings-and-safety/food-safety/articles/are-you-eating-gm-food#2%20what%20GM%20foods%20are%20grown%20in%20australia?

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