GMOs are used in a variety of fields, including the production of pharmaceuticals, biological and medical research, experimental medicine and gene therapy, and agriculture. Agricultural applications of GMO products are the most common and also the most controversial. Patent-protected food crops are developed to be either resistant to commercial herbicides or able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant or both. The most common agricultural GMO crops include corn, soybeans and cotton.
The controversy related to GMO food products entering the food chain stems from the question of their safety by some consumer groups and environmental organizations. Concerns include the possibility of GMO crops cross-pollinating with neighboring crops, increasing antibiotic resistance, introducing new allergens into foods, and other unknown negative side effects on human health. These concerns have led to the creation of laws and regulations in some countries that require safety testing of new GMOs destined for human consumption, and outright bans on the cultivation of some GMO crops, particularly in several European countries, including France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, and Luxembourg. The EU also has an approval process for imports of GM crops and labeling of GM food products.