Stories tagged with GMOs

Family Farm: The Next Generation

A new consumer revolution could change the way we label food

There’s a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign going on in New York City right now regarding smoking in public places. The ads feature slogans like, “If they ban smoking in airports, people will never fly again,” and “If they ban smoking in bathrooms, people will never gossip again.” I thought of this campaign when I stumbled across a Reuters article on Tuesday describing opposition to a new law requiring that meat, seafood, produce, and peanuts be labeled with their countries of origin. Critics of the law quoted in the article foresaw disasters of nigh-biblical proportions: U.S. exports plunging, thousands of farmers pitched …

A new GMO treaty is about to get tangled up in trade tussles

All but eclipsed by the somber anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will become international law today with little fanfare. Nonetheless, its entry into force could mark the beginning of a new era in international trade — with potentially sweeping consequences for the environment. Fields of grain — GMO barley, to be precise. Photo: USDA. The protocol is the first international convention to regulate trade in living modified organisms (LMOs), a subset of the more widely known (and in some circles widely reviled) category of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It spans 30 …

Umbra on Roundup

Dear Umbra, I have a large, organic (hopefully) vegetable garden. However, I occasionally use Roundup around the edges to keep invasive grasses from creeping in. Now, I have been given to understand that Roundup is relatively safe and breaks down almost immediately. What are your thoughts on this subject? I totally trust your judgment. BetsyMichigan Dearest Betsy, Roundup is relatively safe — it’s not as bad as, say, depleted uranium — but that doesn’t mean you want to go pouring it on your pancakes. I’m more than happy to give you the information you seek regarding its toxicity; however, as …

Genetically modified animals could make it to your plate with minimal testing — and no public input

Last January, inspectors with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a visit to the University of Illinois, where researchers have been studying the DNA of pigs. The pig project, based in Champaign-Urbana, is one of dozens of experiments being conducted across the country in which scientists are altering the genetic structure of animals in hopes of making them fatter, healthier, and more profitable. Pigging out. Photo: USDA. In the University of Illinois project, cow genes were inserted into sows to increase their milk production, and a synthetic gene was added to make milk digestion easier for the piglets, thereby …

Weed Between the Lines

In a finding that undermines one key argument in favor of genetically modified (GM) crops, researchers at Iowa State University have discovered that a number of “superweeds” have developed a resistance to Monsanto’s widely used Roundup herbicide. Monsanto has engineered crops that are tolerant of Roundup, the idea being that the chemical would kill everything in a field but the desired crop, thereby freeing farmers from using additional herbicides and leading to an overall decrease in the use of chemicals. But if superweeds gain a foothold, farmers will again need other herbicides. “Companies like Monsanto have spun GM crops and …

Standing the Rules on Their Ear

More farmers are failing to comply with the rules for planting genetically modified (GM) corn than the biotechnology industry claims, according to a new study of government data. Almost 20 percent of U.S. farms growing BT corn, the main type of GM corn, violate the rules for doing so, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Those rules require farmers to plant at least 20 percent of their acreage with non-GM corn; 19 percent of surveyed farms that were not meeting that requirement, and 13 percent were planting no other corn varieties at all. The industry reports …

What if Money Did Grow on Trees?

Umbra on engineered soy products

Dear Umbra, I don’t know if you’ll have time to answer this question, but while purchasing 8th Continent soymilk my husband noticed that there was Solae in it. After some research on the Internet, we discovered that Solae is made by DuPont and is a genetically engineered soybean, but we were unable to find anything negative about it. Do you know anything about Solae and if it is dangerous? Sincerely, Heather AnneSacramento, Calif. Dearest Heather Anne, Hello, and welcome to my little corner of the Internet, where I have nothing but time to answer your questions. (If I use the …

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