The Cost Of Precaution

The graph above shows the relative production of these major US row crops comparing the years 1993-1995 (just prior to the introduction of biotechnology enhanced crops) and 2008-10 (the most recent available data which covers a a span which comes 12-15 years after biotech.  Soybean production has expanded 47% in this time-frame while corn is up 58% (far more than the quantity now being diverted for biofuel).  Both of those crops are predominantly planted to “GMO” varieties, while the various segments of the wheat crop remain non-GMO.  Until 2004 it looked as if North American growers would also get to plant biotech wheat, but a vigorous campaign led by Greenpeace succeeded in blocking the technology.  Many major European and Japanese grain buyers were concerned about potential consumer push-back (based on Greenpeace efforts), so they made a coordinated threat to boycott all North American wheat exports if any commercial GMO wheat

Substantial equivalence

One important concept that is used in most countries to regulate products of genetic engineering is substantial equivalence. The way to determine substantial equivalence is comparative assessment. What do substantial equivalence and comparative assessment mean? Depending on the source we use, we might find different definitions and different opinions of how useful they are in determining the safety of products of genetic engineering. The USDA provides information on Food Safety Assessment and Considerations as part of their Focus on Food Biotechnologypage at the Food Safety Research Information Office. What substantial equivalence can do is give us a starting point.

Precautionary Principles and the Cost of Caution

by Clark Wolf, Director of Bioethics, Iowa State University She felt terrible, with a horrible pain in her gut that cut like a knife, and nausea and fever to match. Usually stoic in the face of pain, my daughter was doubled over and gasping. When we took her to the hospital, the doctor took one look at her and immediately ordered a scan. Within hours she was in the operating room to have her ruptured appendix removed.  After the operation, the surgeon showed us pictures of the process, including a glossy photo of the inflamed appendix and the staple he had used to close off the end from which it had been removed.  Almost immediately after surgery, my daughter’s fever diminished. Her post-surgical pain was minimal compared to the searing pain that brought us to the hospital in the first place. As I write this, she is still in the