WASHINGTON - If the diffusion of genetically modified food crops in the U.S. has been extraordinarily fast, the market and political backlash in Europe has been remarkably rapid as well. Last week, the impact of the worriers in Europe began to be seen in the thinking of U.S. government policy makers, who moved to shore up their credentials as protectors of the public interest in the agbio debate.

Farmers have adopted ag biotech products with amazing speed. Corn is America's biggest crop, and this year about 35 percent of U.S. corn fields will be planted with genetically modified seeds, as will half of the nation's soy and cotton fields, according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). And these products have only been on the market for three years.