John Block Reports from Washington
John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.
My Take on GE Crops
May 09, 2014
Did you know that 80% of the food we eat here in the U.S. contains ingredients that have been genetically engineered? GE technology is not new. We have eaten our weight in GE foods. All of the corn and soy bean acres that we are planting this spring on my farm are GE.
GE technology makes it possible to use less labor. When I was a boy, we hired high school kids to hoe the weeds in our crop fields. Not anymore. GE solved that problem. In those days, corn bores and root worm took a heavy toll on corn yields. Not anymore. GE rejects the pests. With GE, we require less water and we get better yields.
Every serious scientific organization you can think of tells us that "these life-saving technologies pose no threat to human health." Listen to them – National Academy of Science, World Health Organization, the British Royal Society, American Medical Association, on and on. "GE foods are safe."
All of the economists and industry experts tell us that the world will need 70% more food by 2050 to feed 2 billion more people. How can we do that?
We have to be more efficient – use seeds that withstand crippling droughts, counter diseases and pests, and, at the same time, reduce our reliance on pesticides and chemicals. New technology is the only answer.
We are in a constant battle to hold our own against a loud chorus of uninformed, anti-science critics. Their strategy has been to pass labeling laws in the states. That would result in a complicated market with differing laws state by state. Their real objective is to suggest that there is something bad about GE food.
To provide some uniformity and common sense, Congressmen Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield introduced a bipartisan bill (the Safe and Accurate Labeling Act) to establish a federal labeling standard for genetically modified ingredients. A long list of ag and food industry organizations stand in support of the bill.
They claim the bill will eliminate confusion of a 50-state patchwork of GMO laws. It will advance food safety, inform consumers, and provide consistency.
The time has arrived for the ag industry and responsible citizens to stand up and be counted.