Crop biotechnology is desperately needed to meet problems of drought, saline soils, loss of farmland, rural poverty, and population growth, according to Neal Carter, an orchardist and bioresource engineer who has developed a non-browning apple.
“It’s a huge challenge, and biotech crops are leading the way in allowing us to address it,” Carter said in a talk at a TEDx conference. Carter’s company is bringing out the Arctic Apple, which doesn’t turn brown when sliced.
Carter took on the claims by biotech opponents that the technology is unsafe, pointing out that the food safety of genetically engineered crops has been affirmed by the American Medical Association, World Health Organization, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, among other distinguished groups.
Biotechnology reduces food waste, makes better use of water, increases yields, improves farmer income, and improves people’s lives, Carter said.
A video of his presentation is available here.
The Board of Directors of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued official statement this week, declaring that efforts to label GMOs are not motivated by scientific evidence, stating that in fact “the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.”
The statement refers to the numerous respected organizations that have conducted rigorous scientific inquiries into the safety of ag biotech and found the technology to be safe, such as the European Union Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Science and the British Royal society. The Board, which is composed of Nina V. Fedoroff, William Press, Phillip A. Sharp, David Evans Shaw and Alan Leshner, points out that because biotech crops are closely scrutinized while undergoing the United States’ regulatory approval process, “GM crops are the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply.”
“It is the long-standing policy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that special labeling of a food is required if the absence of the information provided poses a special health or environmental risk. The FDA does not require labeling of a food based on the specific genetic modification procedure used in the development of its input crops. Legally mandating such a label can only serve to mislead and falsely alarm consumers,” the statement concludes. Read more.
Science journal Nature published editorials on the need for a second green revolution to eliminate world hunger by 2050 and how overregulation is slowing down a rice variety than can lower the risk of blindness in children, while the production of a biotech crop in India yields advantages for female employment opportunities and earnings.
“Second green revolution” necessary to eliminate world hunger
A second green revolution with a new focus in agricultural research will be needed to provide enough food for the world’s population in 2050, according to an editorial published by science journal Nature on July 28. In order to achieve a Green Revolution, we will need to invest in high-tech seeds and low-tech farming practices. The editorial was part of Nature’s latest issue where the theme was food and agriculture. READ MORE »