Tuesday, July 27

Genetically Modified Foods

What are GMOs — and do I really need to avoid them?
Genetically Modified Foods

What are GMOs — and do I really need to avoid them?

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, tend to have a poor reputation. Play a word association game with GMOs and people often think along the lines of gross mutations, unhealthy food, and overall garbage stuff. To put it simply, in many people's minds, GMO is just another way to refer to "bad" food. But are GMOs really as evil as we think? When it comes to GMO, there's this idea that you need to be either completely for or completely against them. Problem is, most people don't realize what makes something genetically modified, or just how common GMOs are. Fun fact: Unless you're eating certified organic foods exclusively, you're probably consuming GMOs of some kind. And if you look at the big picture, most of the "domestic" forms of food that we eat — like watermelon — don't look at al...
Not ready to eat GMO animals? Then you might not want to order the salmon
Genetically Modified Foods

Not ready to eat GMO animals? Then you might not want to order the salmon

Recently, I did something I had not done in a long time. I ate in a restaurant with my family. Actually, we ate on the outdoor patio, since my kids are too young to be vaccinated and we are somewhat more squeamish than average about COVID, but it was nevertheless a refreshing return to normality and a welcome rest from battling traffic on the way to the Delaware seashore.  I ordered a salad with blackened salmon. If we make the trip again, I will make a different choice.  That’s because last week, biotech company AquaBounty Technologies Inc. announced that it is harvesting several tons of genetically modified salmon, which will soon be sold at restaurants and other “away-from-home” dining retailers around the country. Keep reading at Food Safety News.
Genetically modified foods: Myths vs. facts
Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified foods: Myths vs. facts

Genetically modified foods have frequently given rise to controversy, which means that it can sometimes be difficult to tell fact from misconception. In this Honest Nutrition feature, we explore the facts and dispel the most prevalent myths. Genetically modified foods (GM foods), often called “bioengineeredTrusted Source foods” or “transgenic foods,” continue to be a controversial topic of discussion. Despite their extensive history and widespread use, consumers worldwide do not always have access to sufficient and accurate information about these foods. There is further skepticism surrounding their safety and environmental and health impacts. In this Honest Nutrition feature, we explain what GM foods are, their importance, and what research has discovered about their safety and health...
Judge rules GMO salmon needs more environmental assessment, but can still be sold
Genetically Modified Foods

Judge rules GMO salmon needs more environmental assessment, but can still be sold

Genetically modified food — which will be labeled as "bioengineered," per the federal labeling law — has been a flashpoint of controversy throughout the last decade. But this court decision could easily be seen as a win for both sides. AquaBounty got most of what it wanted, and the FDA approval of GMO salmon still stands. But opponents secured a victory by forcing more stringent environmental consideration for new GMO food. This lawsuit was filed soon after FDA granted its approval for AquAdvantage, which can grow twice as fast as wild salmon, and is raised in tanks at a facility in Indiana. The salmon, which has a growth hormone gene from the Pacific Chinook variety and a gene from the ocean pout species, is the first GMO species that has been approved for human consumption. And, accor...
Sugar beet industry flips narrative on GMO crops
Genetically Modified Foods

Sugar beet industry flips narrative on GMO crops

It's only been a few years since U.S. sugar beet farmers faced a potential financial crisis due to negative public perceptions about food products derived from biotechnology. Nowadays, however, the sugar beet industry is flipping the narrative, capitalizing on what was once its Achilles heel — its universal adoption of GMO seed. Since, 2009, the nation's sugar beet crop has been almost entirely planted in seed genetically modified to resist glyphosate herbicide, which is produced at Bayer's Soda Springs plant. Lately, to strike a chord with an increasingly environmentally conscious consumer base, the sugar beet industry has been touting how biotechnology has made its crop production system far more sustainable. Idaho is the No. 2 state in production of sugar beets by ton. Read ...
Are there Benefits to Genetically Modified Food?
Genetically Modified Foods

Are there Benefits to Genetically Modified Food?

Genetically modified food (GMO) is more common than ever. Still, people often view it as the product of a dystopian society. Thus, there’s a tendency to reject it. After all, modifying something as established as the genetic code of our surroundings can’t be good, right? Thus, different interviews revealed that the rejection of these types of food is fairly high among the population. This is because 33.4% of those interviewed think they provide more harm than benefits, while their acceptance is only 22.8%. There are still mixed feelings on this topic, but first, let’s be clear as to what a GMO actually is. What’s genetically modified food? Genetically modified food is food resulting from an organism modified by genetic engineering. In these foods, genes from another living being ha...
Non-GMO advocates hail ‘first open source detection test’ for a gene-edited GM crop
Genetically Modified Foods

Non-GMO advocates hail ‘first open source detection test’ for a gene-edited GM crop

“This advance resolves doubts regarding the feasibility of extending the regulatory approach currently employed for recombinant DNA-based GMOs to genome-edited organisms,”​ said the scientists behind the study. The paper summarizing their findings has been published in Foods​.​ ​ The term ‘gene editing’ or ‘genome editing’ is often used to refer to new genetic engineering techniques that make it possible to obtain new traits to plants without adding any foreign genetic material. The most prominent technique is CRISPR-Cas. Those opposed to such new techniques say that, besides intended changes, gene editing also causes unintended genetic alterations that can affect the products’ safety for consumers and the environment. They argue that the long-term health and environmental impact of ...
Joanna Blythman: If gene editing to ‘improve’ food sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is
Genetically Modified Foods

Joanna Blythman: If gene editing to ‘improve’ food sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is

IMAGINE having a pair of magic scissors that would allow you to ‘improve’ natural food. With these scissors you could cut away all the annoying things about it and paste in desirable new characteristics: higher yields, superior nutrients, and so on. Theoretically speaking, such a technology is with us now: gene or genome editing. The most publicised of these “molecular scissors” to date is CRISPR, but there are others. Despite the diplomatically opaque new name, gene editing is turbo-charged genetic engineering, only so far with better PR. But if the free traders and corporate influencers in Westminster get their way and deregulate the law that currently governs genetic engineering there, gene edited foods could be green lighted, unlabelled, for English plates, so that most people woul...
Have your cake and eat it too, so long as they’re GMO: 5 Reasons GMO should be on your shopping list
Genetically Modified Foods

Have your cake and eat it too, so long as they’re GMO: 5 Reasons GMO should be on your shopping list

Impossible Burger is a household name best recognized for its successful introduction of a plant-based burger that “bleeds” and has no animal hormones or antibiotics. But, there is another notable “first” for Impossible Burger—it is the first product in stores to adopt the new USDA-approved “bioengineered” GMO (genetically modified organism) product label that will soon be federally-mandated. This puts a spotlight on a major debate: the safety of GMO products.   While there have been no proven documented cases of GMOs causing harm in humans or animals, numerous studies show that consumers generally don’t understand or lack familiarity with GMOs and are decidedly wary to try products that are genetically engineered.  For example, the pro-GMO organization GMO Answers found that 70% of...
25 Years of GMOs
Genetically Modified Foods

25 Years of GMOs

It has been 25 years since GMO crops first came on the market. Since then, GMOs have not just transformed agriculture by providing a valuable tool for farmers, but they have also helped the environment, consumers, and communities around the world. GMOs are an important tool in the fight against climate change, thanks to no-till farming which allows for lower CO2 emissions and helps soil health and water quality. GMOs also preserve habitats by allowing farmers to grow more on less land. Over 25 years, GMOs have helped provide greater food security through increased yields and GMOs that help fight food waste. GMOs have also helped consumers through lower food prices, and farmers through increased return on investment, especially in low-income countries. GMOs are an important ...