The focus on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has lately been intense. While GMO has given the world new medications and new foods, the science has also created a backlash to companies like the agricultural/chemical giant Monsanto, which controls and develops proprietary rights to GMO plant seeds.
But scientific plant modification is hardly a new phenomenon. For instance,
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union may change the country’s agricultural policies, including those focused on genetically modified organisms.
The promise of Britain’s exit from the European Union is to liberate the U.K. from the shackles of damaging EU regulations. So congratulations to Theresa May’s government for scoring its first Brexit victory by getting away from one of Brussels’s worst food obsessions.
A systematic overview of more than 100 studies comparing organic and conventional farming finds that the crop yields of organic agriculture are higher than previously thought. The study, conducted by UC Berkeley researchers, also found that certain practices could further shrink the productivity gap between organic crops and conventional farming.
The study, to be published online Wednesday, Dec. 10, in theProceedings of the Royal Society B, tackles the lingering perception that organic farming, while offering an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemically intensive agriculture, cannot produce enough food to satisfy the world’s appetite.
This November, voters in Colorado and Oregon voted down referenda that would require the labeling of foods with genetically modified (GM) ingredients, joining California and Washington, where similar ballot measures have failed. However, the issue is far from settled. In May, the Vermont legislature passed the first mandatory law, scheduled to go into effect July 2016—but not without a fight. In June, the Grocery Manufacturers Association of Washington, DC, a leading opponent of state labeling laws, joined with other food trade organizations in filing a lawsuit contesting the Vermont law. (more…)