Genetically Modified Food

The Science of GMOs: Possibilities And Limitations

Apr 23, 2015
James Jerome, Flickr/CC

Genetically modified organisms are a favorite villain of the modern food debate, with claims they threaten human health and the environment. But while many of these concerns have been debunked, media hype around this topic often distracts from the facts. We’re digging into that, and the possibilities and limitations of genetic engineering.

Jen Goellnitz via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Yes Or No To GMOs?

Nov 26, 2013
brianjmatis / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

GUESTS:

Rastoney / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

AdrianMakarov / Flickr Creative Commons

  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.

artist in doing nothing / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

iStockPhoto

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Monsanto Protection Act” and why are environmentalists so upset about it?                                                                                                       -- Rita Redstone, Milwaukee, WI

bamalibrarylady via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Hemera Collection/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What was Proposition 37 in California that concerns the labeling of genetically modified foods and that was just voted down in that state?                         -- Peter Tremaine, Euclid, OH