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Dec 13, 2016

On GM foods, part 3: Let’s decide where we’re going

Advanced science provides solutions to food and nutrition security, environmental impacts, biodiversity and the crucial omega-3 gap Philosopher and baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” The discussion about genetically engineered foods is fraught with such surprise destinations. Rudimentary online research shows that, in discussions about genetically engineered foods, hyperbole is commonplace, assertions masquerade as facts and antagonists are indignant over the duplicity and malfeasance of the other guys. The tone of the conversation led sustainable business writer Marc Gunther to summarize his reluctance to address genetically engineered food: “People tend to be for ’em or agin’ em, and for whatever reason, most aren’t open to listening to arguments that challenge their settled view.” In earlier articles (here and here) I proposed that we might redirect the conversation by first establishing how we go about assessing the role of genetic engineering in agriculture. Then, armed with an approach, we might more equably delve into our assessments. To assess the role of genetic engineering in agriculture, a required first step is to state what we want from our agricultural systems. Frequently, those wants take the form of a wish list with dozens of entries. Agriculture is vexed because it lacks a succinct description of where it should be going. Read the article.

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