Saturday, October 23

Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified food a step closer in England as laws relaxed
Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified food a step closer in England as laws relaxed

The prospect of genetically modified foods being grown and sold in the UK has come a step closer after changes to farming regulations that will allow field trials of gene edited crops in England. Companies or research organisations wishing to conduct field trials will still have to notify the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the government announced on Wednesday, but existing costs and red tape will be removed so more trials are likely to go ahead. The immediate change is small, and affects only England, but the government says it will be followed by plans for new primary legislation that will allow far greater use of gene editing in crops in the UK, and a redefinition in law of genetic modification. Keep reading at The Guardian.
GM foods: Our suspicion and fear may be a thing of the past
Genetically Modified Foods

GM foods: Our suspicion and fear may be a thing of the past

A plant biologist, Professor Martin has spent almost two decades studying tomatoes, and I had travelled to see her because of a particular one she created — a lustrous, dark purple variety that is unusually high in antioxidants, with twice the amount found in blueberries. At 66, Martin has silver-white hair, a strong chin, and sharp eyes that give her a slightly elfin look. She has long been interested in how plants produce beneficial nutrients. The purple tomato is the first she designed to have more anthocyanin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compound. “All higher plants have a mechanism for making anthocyanins,”  Martin explained when we met. “A tomato plant makes them as well, in the leaves. We just put in a switch that turns on anthocyanin production in the fruit.” Keep r...
Philippines Approves Golden Rice
Genetically Modified Foods

Philippines Approves Golden Rice

The golden rice saga began in 1999 when researchers developed a genetically modified version of rice that produces beta-carotene (hence the yellow or “golden” color), which is a precursor to vitamin A. Finally, last month the Philippines approved golden rice, which is now cleared to be planted by farmers. The reason for the two-decade delay was mostly regulatory, and caused by ideological opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), not based in science or evidence. The story reflects some important basic principles in public health. Golden rice was developed to fight vitamin A deficiency, which remains a serious problem in many parts of the world. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is about 140 million worldwide, with 250,000 – 500,000 children going blind every year fr...
It makes business sense to be GMO-free
Genetically Modified Foods

It makes business sense to be GMO-free

OPINION: Are we on the brink of doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons? I fear that there is an alliance developing, almost by stealth, that will foist genetically modified organisms (GMO) on New Zealand. The impetus appears to be the need to develop solutions for predator control, or for climate change – through the creation of sterile genes to wipe out, say, possums, or of crops that can resist drought conditions or reduce methane emissions. Silver bullets to provide easy solutions, so we can go on our merry way without changing our behaviours too much. This dangerous short-term thinking needs to be challenged. Physics has taught us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, delicate ecosystem balances should not be toyed with lightly. Look at the damag...
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...