Right approach to GMO debate

01/17/2014 10:30:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

Will consumers embrace the biotech Arctic apple?

The question of public acceptance of the GMO non-browning apple is not easily answered now. Certainly most public comments to the USDA about the apple’s quest for non-regulated status raise warning flags.

With the heat generated by the Arctic apple and other biotech crops, the Biotech Industry Organization is not turning a deaf ear to consumer concerns about biotechnology in food and farming.

Far from it. The group last year launched a website called GMO Answers. The site invites readers to ask questions about GMOs of experts in the field.

Former Western Growers executive Cathleen Enright — now the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s executive vice president for food and agriculture — talked about the effort in a recent speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in San Antonio.

“Only when our audiences understand we are listening to them will they listen to us,” she said in her presentation.

Giving consumers an interactive and responsive forum to ask questions about biotechnology is exactly the right thing to do.

Is it enough? For example, can it forestall efforts in 30 U.S. states to introduce labeling for biotech food?

Not likely.

The dynamics of the biotech debate are far from settled, and we make no comment here whether the U.S. consumer is prepared now, or will be in 10 years, to embrace biotech varieties of fresh produce.

But, at the very least, the GMO Answers website provides a dialogue where consumer trust and knowledge about biotechnology can gain a stronger footing.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.



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marcuscassius    
January, 17, 2014 at 08:17 PM

Hey,Put poison in my apples, as long as they don't brown. I'm fine with that. Kill my children if I can have a job. Invade innocent countries if they have oil that we want, Even IF it pollutes and destroys everything it touches. Oh yeah, Yummy apples that give you cancer just sound right to me. Hope those farmers see it that way.

    
January, 18, 2014 at 12:39 AM

marcuscassius I hope your comment does not really reflect your worldview. If it does then I am sad for you. The apples we are talking about here are nothing about what you seem to be concerned about. It will take brave farmers to plant these apples because of irrational responses

james czarkowski    
Michigan  |  January, 21, 2014 at 04:33 PM

yes, we live in the post genome period, and now epigenetic(culture , environment forces to genes), just beginning. Technical experiments fine, genomes fine, but does anyone measure the phytochemistry of fruit and organism, no, concerned about brown apple at Russian roulette of irrational exumberance as Mr. Greenspan would call it. Weight the benefits and details of the science. We got lost in 2008, we do not need to do the same in agriculture and food chain. JIM>>>>>>>

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