"U.S. soybean, cotton, and corn farmers have rapidly adopted genetically engineered (GE) varieties of these crops since their commercialization in the mid-1990s. Over the last decade, GE varieties in the United States have increased from 3.6 million acres to 143 million acres. Worldwide, 25 countries planted GE crops on approximately 309 million acres in 2008. GE varieties now dominate soybean, cotton, and corn production in the United States, and they continue to expand rapidly in other countries. As adoption has spread, policy debates have continued over the costs and benefits of GE products. Ongoing concerns include the impacts of GE crops on the environment and food safety, and whether GE foods should be specially labeled. Underlying these issues is the question of whether U.S. regulation and oversight of biotechnology--with responsibilities spread primarily among the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)--are adequate, particularly as newer applications, for example, biopharmaceuticals (drugs manufactured with the use of GE crops or animals) or stacked GE traits in single organisms, emerge that did not exist when the current regulatory regime was established."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32809
National Agricultural Law Center: http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/crs/