EMAC researchers publish new article

EMAC researchers Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes and Alexandre Magnier authored new article titled: A Profile of non-GM Crop Growers in the United States.”

In the US, the management of coexistence between GM and non-GM production systems has been left to market forces. GM crops that successfully complete required regulatory safety reviews are considered substantially equivalent to conventional varieties and can be freely commingled in the commodity supply chain. Non-GM products that are kept separate from their GM equivalents and organic crops are treated as value-added crops commanding premiums that vary according to prevailing supply and demand conditions. These premiums compensate farmers and traders for any incremental costs they incur, including those imposed by the segregation of non-GM from GM crops (through field isolation, buffer zones, etc.) and identity preservation (IP) throughout the supply chain. Hence, unlike the EU, in the US non-GM growers assume the costs of coexistence and, in turn, pass those costs on to purchasers of non-GM crops. There is an active non-GM crop production segment in the US that supplies both the domestic market and export destinations such as Japan, South Korea and the EU.  The article provides a profile of non-GM crop producers in the US.

Kalaitzandonakes, N. and A. Magnier “A Profile of non-GM Crop Growers in the United States” Eurochoices, 15(1): 64-68, 2016

Find the article here.



Unleash the Mosquitoes

Genetically engineered, bacteria-infected and sterilized mosquitoes are among the cutting-edge weapons being tested against diseases like Zika and dengue, even as some experts say old-fashioned tools like DDT may be worth discussing. 

Every weekday at 7 a.m., a van drives slowly through the southeastern Brazilian city of Piracicaba carrying a precious cargo — mosquitoes. More than 100,000 of them are dumped from plastic containers out the van’s window, and they fly off to find mates. But these are not ordinary mosquitoes. They have been genetically engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, which die before they can reach adulthood. In small tests, this approach has lowered mosquito populations by 80 percent or more.


Chipotle’s Anti-GMO Stance Didn’t Keep Its Customers Safe

The burritos didn’t contain GMOs, but they did contain E. coli.

“Last April, Chipotle announced it would be phasing out ingredients containing genetically modified organisms. As Science of Us argued at the time, this was a meaningless bit of PR designed to bolster Chipotle’s reputation as a “responsible” or “wholesome” fast-food joint; while GMOs, like any technology, need to be effectively regulated and deployed responsibly, all else being equal there are no valid reasons to consider foods without GMOs to be healthier or more environmentally friendly than those containing them. But Americans are terribly ill-informed about GMOs — they answer basic true-false questions about the technology with barely more accuracy than a coin flip — and therefore become easy prey to this sort of opportunistic corporate feel-goodery.” (more…)

Check out EMAC’s new study on the economic impacts of delayed biotech innovation

Crops developed through biotechnology must undergo regulatory approval to ensure their environmental, food and feed safety before they are commercially introduced in the marketplace. This regulatory process necessarily lengthens the time required to bring such new crops to market. Insofar as this delay is necessary to ensure their safety it is regarded as worthwhile. Efficiency is crucial, though; there are many possible ways that the regulatory review process can be structured. If the approval process goes on longer than necessary to ensure safety with reasonable scientific certainty, the opportunity cost of delaying or altogether missing out innovation can mount.  Kalaitzandonakes, Zahringer and Kruse analyze such potential economic impacts in EMAC’s working paper 2015-1. (more…)