According to physicians interviewed by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, biotechnology contributes to a safe, nutritious and more abundant food supply. Their insights shed light on issues important to consumers today, including food labeling, food security and sustainable agriculture.
On the topic of food labeling, Dr. Laurie Green, an obstetrician-gynecologist in San Francisco, California, points out that labels on foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients could be confusing to consumers. “It’s much more important to label items that might truly cause harm than [genetically modified] foods that have been used for 20 years in 29 countries and consumed by millions and millions of people,” she said.
Dr. Green also discussed the benefits of biotechnology for sustainable agriculture. “Biotechnology has led to foods that require less pesticides, fewer herbicides, and even combat viruses that damage crops, so overall these methodologies have so improved the quality of our environment and the quality of our food supply,” she said.
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Imagine a world without food science. What would be on the shelves of grocery stores? Not much, according to a new video from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
“The black and white footage shows empty shelves, rotten fruit, insect-infested grain and spoiled meat to show the realities of a world without food science,” according to IFT. “The scene changes to color when the voiceover explains how dedicated food science professionals make it possible to have food that is safe, flavorful and nutritious.” To view the video and related materials, visit the website here.
Reports released this month by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirm the safety of biotech corn and soybean varieties. The reports add to a long line of scientific findings that affirm the safety of food and feed made from biotech crops.
The EFSA, which provides independent scientific advice to the European Union, determined the biotech crops are as healthy and environmentally friendly as the conventional varieties of corn and soybeans.
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As a testament to the importance of a science-based policymaking, the United States Senate overwhelmingly rejected an amendment this week offered by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would have allowed states to require labeling on foods containing genetically modified (GM ) ingredients.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) pointed out the measure would have created obstacles to ag biotech innovations and compromised the integrity of the U.S. regulatory process, which continues to recognize there is no scientific justification for special labeling of GM foods.
“The Senate’s action confirms that the path to awareness about biotechnology is not through changes to the U.S. government’s food labeling policy, which requires labeling to provide consumers with information about health, safety or nutrition,” said Dr. Cathleen Enright, Vice President of Food & Agriculture, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
With strong bipartisan support, the Senate also voted to reauthorize the Farm Bill, including a measure that would support the construction of new biorefineries with the potential of opening emerging agricultural markets and creating new employment opportunities across the U.S.
Coexistence among farmers with different types of crops -biotech, non-biotech conventional and organic - is an issue in the United States and other countries today. Farmers can work together to manage the spread of pollen and prevent problems with unintended presence of genetic material in neighboring crops, experts said during a recent panel discussion at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention in Boston.
“Biotech crops can peacefully coexist alongside conventional agriculture and organic farming,” said Gregory Conko, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington. “As long as farmers are responsible, cooperate with each other and work together, they can make sure that there’s place for organic agriculture and biotechnology, and everyone can have the food products that they particularly want,” he added. READ MORE »