While an increasing number of states and retailers are looking to pass GMO labeling laws, planting genetically modified corn, soybeans, and cotton remains the norm among North American farmers. Seed makers claim that of modified – or treated – crops resist pests and disease, reducing the need for expensive herbicides and pesticides. In pockets across the nation, however, farmers who once championed GMO seeds are complaining that they no longer deliver on those claims. Some are reverting back to conventional seeds for their commodities crops. Elizabeth Royte is a contributor for Fern, The Food and Environment Reporting Network. Her article, “The Post GMO-Economy” is featured in the winter issue of Modern Farmer.
The national debate over whether foods that contain ‘genetically modified’ ingredients should be labeled has come to New Hampshire, with a bill in the legislature to require such language on food products- ranging from corn flakes to canola oil. We’re looking the arguments, from questions about health and environmental impacts to the economic costs of labeling.
A House committee voted 12 to 8 to recommende against passing a bill that would require retailers to label foods containing genetically modified crops, or GMOs. The vote means the chances are slim of getting the bill through a divided legislature.
Since August New Hampshire lawmakers have been considering arguments for and against the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee has so far heard primarily from advocates of GMO labeling.
The most recent advocates of labeling to appear before the committee were Gary Hirshberg, formerly the CEO of Stonyfield yogurt, and Manchester Rabbi Eric Cohen.
Lawmakers working on a bill that would require the labeling of food containing Genetically Modified Crops heard from a leading advocate of GMO labeling Tuesday. New Hampshire is one of a patchwork of states considering similar such bills.
Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with the publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine, told lawmakers that Europe’s labeling requirements show that many of the concerns raised by opponents of GMO labeling are unfounded.
A good potato is hard to find – at least for potato chip makers, who require the exactly the right balance of sugar, starch, and color to produce a perfect chip. In the late 1960’s, chip companies aimed to engineer these tricky variables to their liking using conventional plant cross-breeding. Researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the Wise potato chip company embarked upon a scientific quest to create the perfect potato for chips – and ended up with poisonous results. We spoke to Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor at Boing-Boing and columnist for the New York Times magazine, about the failed quest.
Proposition 37, or the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” defeated by a narrow margin this past Election Day, called on food makers to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients on their packages -- and to not label such foods as “natural.”