Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
A small Canadian company has created a genetically engineered apple that doesn’t go brown when you slice it. It’s waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But some apple producers are worried that this new product will taint the apple’s wholesome, all-natural image.
From GMOs to apps on your phone, these were some of the biggest food stories and trends in 2013.
Tufts University says that one of its researchers violated ethics rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified “golden rice” in China. The study showed that the rice can fight malnutrition, but researchers didn’t provide enough information to the parents of the children who ate it, Tufts says.
Today, stone fruit season brings in a rainbow of colors and flavors: apriums, pluots, nectaplums, peacharines, pluerries, and even peacotums. Where did these designer breeds come from? What is the difference between hybridization and genetic engineering?
Government investigators are trying to solve an agricultural whodunit: How did genetically engineered wheat that was never approved for sale end up in a farmer’s field in Oregon? Some are raising the possibility of sabotage; others suspect simple human error.
Across the corn belt, farmers are pulling out all the stops in their war on the corn rootworm. They’re returning to chemical pesticides, because the weapons of biotechnology — inserted genes that are supposed to kill the rootworm — aren’t working so well anymore.
The high court ruled unanimously that when farmers use patented seed for more than one planting in violation of their licensing agreements, they are liable for damages.
Congress on Thursday approved stopgap funding legislation that includes language explicitly granting the USDA authority to override a judge’s ruling against genetically modified crops. Critics denounce the measure as the “Monsanto Protection Act.” But it seems to be codifying powers the USDA already has exercised in the past.
A rice enriched with beta-carotene promises to boost the health of poor children around the world. But critics say golden rice is also a clever PR move for a biotech industry driven by profits, not humanitarianism.
The California Report Magazine Host: Scott Shafer
One health-related ballot measure getting nationwide attention is Proposition 37 — which goes to the heart of how much information consumers should have about their food. Prop. 37 requires labeling on raw or processed food that’s made from certain genetically engineered materials. It also prohibits calling any foods like that “natural” on the packaging. Supporters say consumers have a right to this information. Opponents say the measure is misleading and full of loopholes.
Should California require labeling of genetically modified foods? That’s the goal of Proposition 37 on the November state ballot. Supporters say GMO labeling will provide California consumers with valuable information, while detractors claim it will simply add unnecessary confusion and cost to the food system.