Saturday, January 28, 2017

Not "Genetically Modified", but still "Edited" foods

In the future, people may not be able to tell whether the food they buy has been altered. Soybeans may be made to no longer require hydrogenated oil and potatoes may become burn resistant with longer shelf life as soon as 2019.

Although Congress passed a law requiring companies to disclose whether food are genetically modified, the new coined term is now called "Gene-Edited Foods".  This is not only for plants, a company called Recombinetics is working on editing animal genes. Cellectis, a company of Monstanto, started Calyxt which is working on gene-editing foods. The chief executive of Cellectis sees no danger of genetically modified foods, but believes gene edited foods will be more accepted by society. However, there may be a crackdown on the editing of animal genes.

The USDA may exclude "gene edited" off the list to be considered "organic", so organic foods may be gene edited. The problem with this is consumers won't know if the food they buy is gene edited. In the European Union regulations, gene edited foods would still be banned just like GMO foods. Others, however say less regulation in America would be beneficial for everyone.

Personally, I prefer knowing what's in my food so I side with the labeling requirement. Since Monsanto is the giant behind this it looks like they're trying to get around the GMO labeling. I'm very weary of this, because big biotech companies like Monsanto have invested financial interests in patenting bacteria strains or seed modification processes to gain control of food as is the case with soy and corn. It is also unclear if these GMO or "gene edited" foods are safe as I haven't seen published studies on their long term effects. In other countries like Japan, New Zealand, and certain European countries, GMO foods are banned. There must be a reason they did this so I'd like to hear their side of the story.

1 comment:

  1. It certainly seems odd and suspicious that there is an attempt to rename/reclassify genetically modified foods. There are potential benefits to "gene-edited" foods such as increased yield and survivability. But as you pointed out, we should be wary as we have yet to fully understand the long term effects such practices may have on us and the environment.