Straight Talk: Let’s Get Real About Technology and our Food

It’s understandable that many consumers are curious about about how their food is grown. After all, we put food in our bodies, share it when celebrating or at times of mourning, and are responsible for what we serve to our precious children. At a time when anyone can broadcast their own personal message to millions of followers in seconds, there’s no shortage of opinions and advice on what you should and shouldn’t eat.

The tough part is, the science of health and wellness is far less sexy than many food bloggers and celebrity-du-jour personalities would have you believe. Unfortunately, the words “safe”, “affordable” and “abundant” don’t get the heart pumping like “toxic”, “Frankenfood”, and “genetically modified”. Teasing out fact from fiction about our food is not always easy or straight-forward.

This week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on the effects of genetically engineered (GE, sometimes also called GMO) crops on human health, the environment, and agriculture. The broad study combed through 900 studies and compared conventionally-bred crops to their GE counterparts.

Hear More: Click here to hear “Debunking Food Myths” with Yvette d’Entremont, the Sci Babe

The panel of scientists came up with a rather ho-hum conclusion: GE crops are pretty much just crops. One of the scientists involved in the study went on to say that GE is not “the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.”

Ultimately, the study confirms that crop varieties containing GE traits are safe for us to consume and safe for the environment. They’re also not a silver bullet to any one challenge in agriculture  — but anyone involved in farming recognizes there are always trade-offs when you’re working with Mother Nature.

The Academy of Sciences’ report also noted that the distinction between “genetically modified” and not is becoming less obvious, as technology, such as CRISPR, a gene-editing technique, creates new varieties of crop types indistinguishable from non-modified lines.

Will this Biotech 2.0 ease the fears and distrust many consumers have of technology in food production? That’s the big question that many in agriculture would love to see answered with a resounding yes.

Curious about how your food is grown? Follow this link to The Real Dirt on Farming

2 thoughts on “Straight Talk: Let’s Get Real About Technology and our Food

  1. There was a time when it was normal to be able to harvest seeds from vegetables and flowers for planting next season. Am I accurate when saying those days are gone for the most part due to patents property held by seed companies? What’s also not favorable for me is to realize how much of our food is grown in chemically toxic soil. It’s obvious how our soils are forced to produce due to pressure on land, water and labor. What this means to me is more of my food budget will be spent at “farmers’ markets”.

  2. I think the threat that everyone is missing is the impact of GPS on our food and freedom! I personally would like to move to GPS-free food. This insidious technology has invaded our personal space and our public spaces. GPS is in our phones, and cars and irrigation equipment and combines- it is literally everywhere. For those of you who don’t know, it was developed by the American Military and large profit hungry corporations. No one has proven it is safe for us and for our plants. Who gave permission for these death rays to be spread all over the earth. It is not natural for tractors and equipment to travel in such straight lines. The earth is round —Not square. Go GPS-free food!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *