Tag Archives: GMO

Making More Food


There is a ton, I mean a TON, of opinion on the concept of genetically modified foods.  Frankly, much of it I don’t understand.  From the beginning time, we have tried to accent the positive aspects of plants and animals while minimizing the undesirable ones.

When we mate high milk producers with other high milk producers, we are “modifying” our cows.  Same when we pollinate high yield corn with more high yield corn.

So why the concern when we accelerate natural selection?  Well, more and more, people are saying:

There is no concern, none

A few weeks ago, Amy Harmon, a respected science journalist at the New York Times, turned her attention to the GMO debate, writing a masterfully textured story about the plight of the Florida orange and the role biotechnology might play in rescuing it from a potentially deadly disease. It was widely praised by independent journalists for its even-handed analysis of the costs and benefits associated with adopting new technologies, like genetic modification, to food.

As influential as the Times may be among the chattering classes, don’t expect this story to alter the trajectory of the debate over GMO foods. While every major scientific regulatory oversight body in the world, including the National Academies of Science and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, has concluded that genetically modified foods pose no harm not also found in conventional or organic foods, the public remains deeply suspicious of them. A survey published in the same newspaper the day before Harmon’s piece ran found that 37 percent of those interviewed worried about GMOs, saying they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies.

This one transcends political affiliation – liberals and conservatives are coming out against GMO’s.  But there is no real reason for it.

Read the whole thing.

Why Are The Honey Bees Dying – CCD Is A Question Mark

Honey Bee

I’ve been following the plight of the honey bee for years now.  But with me recent plunge into the whole apiary business, I’m much more interested.  Back when I first started reading about the problem of hives dying off, Colony Collapse Disorder, the leading theory was that cell phones and cell phone towers were interrupting the ability of the bee to travel.

They were getting lost and dying.

Since then, theories abound.  However, the most recent and loudest has to do with the whole issue surrounding GMO crops.  Is it the pollen from the crops themselves that are killing the bees?  Is it the herbicides and pesticides that can now be used with much more freedom that are killing the bees?

Sadly, we don’t know:

WASHINGTON — The devastation of American honeybee colonies is the result of a complex stew of factors, including pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity, according to a comprehensive federal study published on Thursday. The problems affect pollination of American agricultural products worth tens of billions of dollars a year.

The report does not place more weight on one factor over another, and recommends a range of actions and further research.

Honeybees are used to pollinate hundreds of crops, from almonds to strawberries to soybeans. Since 2006, millions of bees have been dying in a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. The cause or causes have been the subject of much study and speculation.

The federal report appears the same week that European officials took steps toward banning a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, derived from nicotine, that they consider a critical factor in the mass deaths of bees there.

But officials in the United States Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and others involved in the bee study said that there was not enough evidence to support a ban on one group of pesticides, and that the costs of such action might exceed the benefits.

I’m happy with the approach.  I like the idea of scientific study of causes and reactions.  I also like it when those scientists admit that they don’t yet know and need more time.

Let’s take it.