Journalist vs scientist on genetically modified organisms (GMO food)


A recent ‘lecture/debate‘ at UC Berkley demonstrates that scientists, farmers, and journalists can find common ground on GMO food. While certain GMO foods (basically anything ‘Roundup Ready’- Monsanto) are controversial, there are less well-known GMO foods that have positive impacts (for example the Bt trait, which reduces use of pesticides). Popular opinion often villanizes GMO foods (a bipartisan anti-science position), however, a broader discussion beyond Monsanto and GMOs that only favor industrialized farming may sway public opinion in favor of responsible GMOs. Definitely an interesting topic, with hopefully more meaningful discussions in the future (soon at UC Davis?).

Ronald strongly disagrees with Pollan’s view that G.M.O. crops, broadly, are failing. She cited examples such as Bt cotton that have cut the amount of chemical insecticides applied to crops globally by millions of pounds a year. “The U.S.D.A. just reported a <href=”#.u1lqd-zdxt8″>tenfold reduction in the use of insecticides as a result of the engineered Bt trait,” Ronald said. She also cited an example of papayas that were genetically engineered to resist ring-spot virus and helped to save the Hawaiian papaya industry. “It’s a shame to demonize an entire technology because of Roundup Ready,” she told Pollan and Patel