Since 1996 until now, more than 4 billion acres of biotech crops – an area 1.5 times the size of Europe or nearly as big as South America – will have been harvested, according to advocacy group The Truth About Trade and Technology.
Ross Korves, economic and trade policy analyst with the group, says the calculation starts with 1996 commercial production of biotech crops.
Each February, the group benchmarks back to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications' December 31 number of acres planted for the year. Much of the world does not have a harvested number like the U.S., but Korves says they're making an educated guess to paint a picture.
"The counters (for planted acres and harvested acres) run 365 days per year. They come alive in the spring and fall and peak out at 25-30 million acres per week in the northern hemisphere and 15-20 million in the southern hemisphere," he explains.
Related: Top 10 Facts About Biotech Crops
Bottom line, says Bill Horan, chairman of Truth About Trade and Technology, the billion acres of harvested biotech crops without any reported issues shows their importance in the food chain.
"There are a lot of voices out there critical of biotechnology, spinning their precautionary tales. Four billion acres of biotech crops have filled a lot of stomachs, and biotech is one of the answers for meeting agriculture's goal to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050," Horan said.
"I think it's time we lay all of these scary food myths to rest, like the passing of the boogeyman, once Halloween is over. Once we're able to do that, we could focus on the work ahead of us."
Source: Truth About Trade and Technology