Former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman says technology will improve the global food supply
During The Atlantic’s event “Feeding Future Generations” in Washington D.C., Former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman said technology is necessary to feed a growing world population. He pointed out that possible cuts to the U.S. foreign assistance budget add urgency to helping other countries, particularly in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, to produce higher yielding crops. Read more.
UC-Berkeley plant biologist points out the high costs of GM food labeling
In the University of California-Berkeley’s Food Blog, biotechnology specialist Dr. Peggy Lemaux discusses the high potential costs consumers would need to pay if there was mandatory genetically modified (GM) food labeling in the US.
“If there is widespread agreement on the need for labeling, then a market could arise for GMO-free labeled foods for which people would pay extra,” Lemaux said. “This would be similar to the current situation with Kosher and organic foods. Since having access to GMO-free foods is not a matter of food safety, but food preference, this approach would lead to a situation in which only those people who want the extra information would pay for it.” Read more.
Report: Delays in GM crop approvals are putting Europe’s food security at risk
According to Reuters, Europe’s biotechnology industry presented EU policy makers with a report demonstrating that “agricultural imports vital to EU food security” are increasingly being put at risk due to delays in the approval of GM crops. The report urges the European Commission, which oversees GM crop approvals, to make a commitment to reducing the backlog of applications. Read more.
2010 ISAAA report shows benefits of GE crops for farmers worldwide
A USA Today article citing the 2010 ISAAA report on the global status of biotech crops points out that biotech crops “have been enthusiastically embraced by farmers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and China.” Higher yields from biotech varieties will help to feed a growing world population faced with the shrinking availability of land. Dr. Peggy Lemaux, at the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology (and a CBI expert!), discusses the need for humanitarian assistance in order to ensure that the benefits of genetic engineering reach the world’s poorest farmers.
Dr. Lemaux says, “because of the expenses involved, creating engineered crops for developing countries requires humanitarian contributions by philanthropists like (Bill) Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation or perhaps by companies who see value in such endeavors.” Read more.
Forbes blog: Dr. Henry Miller responds to myths about GE crops
In a Forbes article, Dr. Henry Miller, author of The Frankenfood Myth and former founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the FDA, criticizes the New York Times for propagating myths about genetically engineered crops instead of recognizing the worldwide success of the technology. Dr. Miller points out that arguments against the safety and benefits of GE crops fail to explain their widespread adoption. “Higher productivity, lower costs for inputs (including chemical pesticides), economic gains to farmers and environment-friendly agronomic practices have made it the most rapidly adopted agricultural technology in history.”
As was discussed at a recent AAAS panel on GMO crop regulations, Dr. Miller also questions the logic of regulations on genetically engineered crops, “Although they boast significant benefits and an unblemished record of safety, genetically engineered crops are subject to excessive, hugely expensive regulation in every country of the world that grows them.” Read more.