A Collision Course with Unintended Consequences

collisionIn an early morning jaunt to Sacramento last week my car was rear ended.  I serve on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (who by the way are looking for new members), and was on my way to attend a subcommittee meeting when boom—a fine young man rammed me in the rear end of my car. As I recuperate from the trauma, I wax philosophical and wonder why this happened and what the long term unintended consequences will be. The same ruminations can be applied to the novel gene editing techniques that are racing towards us with accelerating speed. Are we all on a genetic collision course with unintended consequences?  Continue reading

GMO’s: The Evolution of Emerging Technologies

GMO CornWalk down the center aisles of any supermarket and you will be surrounded by cartons, cans and jars that represent our modern diet. Processed, prefabbed foods, perennially ready to eat, warm up, dine out, dash in – for those on the go. If you don’t see the USDA Certified Organic or Non-GMO Verified label, you can count on GMO ingredients inside those containers. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) estimates that more than 75% of those packaged, processed, center-of-the-store foods contain genetically modified ingredients. What in the world are they and what is all the fuss about? Continue reading

The next generation of extreme biotechnology needs you!

Real Vanilla

If you happened to read the recent New York Times Article “What’s That Smell, Exotic scents made from re-engineered yeast”, you may be feeling concerned about this new form of extreme genetic engineering. If you are also a creative being, there may be an opportunity to combine your concern with your artistic energy.  Continue reading

Let’s give Eve a better apple?

Snake in the gardenThere’s a new apple variety out there created in laboratories that could be coming to your store in early 2014. It looks and smells like an apple but with one distinct difference, the molecules that express its genes have been tinkered with.

The creators of this genetically engineered apple hail it as “Nature at Its Best”. They go on to say “We all love apples! Until they turn brown, that is. Arctic® apples are everything you love about apples, without the “yuck” factor…”  Continue reading

Battleground I-522: what’s at stake and why now?

English: Digital Elevation map of Washington s...

English: Digital Elevation map of Washington state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In less than a week the people of Washington State will decide whether most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods and seeds using genetic engineering (GE) will be labeled when offered for retail sale. A “yes” vote on 522 would give Washington shoppers more information about what’s in their food and control over their shopping decisions. Under this initiative, genetically engineered foods to be labeled would include chips, cold cereals, soft drinks, candy, corn and soy.

Our food is already labeled with abundant nutritional information, including sugar, sodium, whether flavors are natural or artificial and if salmon is wild or farm-raised. Food companies are already required to label genetically engineered food in 64 other countries, so why not here? Continue reading