I had the pleasure of working with Kavin Senapathy, Alison Bernstein, and Layla Katiraee (who is also a Biofortified Blog author) this past week on an open letter from us science moms to the celebrity moms who are speaking out in support of mandatory GMO labeling. The letter is published at Grounded Parents. I hope you’ll take a look at our letter and consider adding your voice, whether you’re a mom, dad, or not a parent at all. You can use hashtag #Moms4GMOs to add your own message on social media.
You may have noticed a few changes here and there on the Biofortified Blog and across the website. We are hard at work making major improvements. We’re getting a much faster host, testing a responsive website design, switching comments to Disqus, moving to a better forum, developing special subscriber pages, cleaning up our about pages, and much more. There might be some growing pains, so we thank you for your patience and invite you to contact us if you notice any issues. The most important thing you may have noticed is that we have switched from the default WordPress comment system to Disqus. Our 13,000+ approved comments are currently being indexed, but should reappear on the Biofortified Blog soon. You have likely seen Disqus comments at other websites, including NPR, The Atlantic, and Grist among many others. While every tool has its drawbacks*, we believe this will give users more control over their
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” –Shakespeare Does the name of a scientific technique and its results matter? There are many names for genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms, and many definitions for those names. Scientists and government agencies in the US generally use genetic engineering and biotechnology. Activists who dislike the technology call its results GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
It’s strange that so few people are talking about this flu outbreak in chickens in the US. I don’t think it’s something we can ignore. The outbreak is sad for many reasons, including the birds’ suffering, the needed yet wasteful culling of flocks, and the human toll of the workers dealing with so much death plus the farmers seeing their cared for animals and their business killed. We should expect a rise in egg prices, starting with liquid eggs and processed foods that use liquid eggs (including baked goods and ice cream, as the NY Times article states). I doubt in-shell egg prices are far behind. That’s bad news for people struggling to put food on the table.
A recent article argues that it is Time for Farmers to Break Their Silence on GMOs, and I heartily agree. I recently spoke at the GMOs: Now we’re talking! event hosted by the Kansas Farm Bureau, where Bureau President, Richard Felts, asked me what farmers should say. Is there a quick fact or something that could reassure consumers about the safety of modern agriculture, particularly of GMOs? My response is that most people won’t respond to a quick fact. Even if they would respond to a quick fact, it might be a different fact for each person, depending on their own concerns and background, and what they might have heard about GMOs from friends or through social media. Instead of facts, I believe we need to focus on telling our stories – whether we are farmers or scientists.