Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Writing for Newsweek, Henry Miller asserts Russia Today acts as a mouthpiece for President Putin to propel propaganda that weakens consumer confidence in technology such as fracking and genetic engineering. Miller, a former US Food and Drug Administration official, argues this biased news is especially detrimental when you add support from the organic food industry inside the US. Despite consumers giving into misleading perceptions, Miller voices hope that modern technology and science will prevail.
Also discussing misinformation and fake news, Genetic Literacy Project’s Stephan Neidenbach calls Oprah Winfrey a junk science enabler. He points out how Oprah’s actions and decisions, such as pulling a Monsanto ad from O magazine and voicing heavy support for natural products and alternative health industries, give the wrong message to her large viewership. Noting that Oprah also has misleading statements about GMOs on her website, Neidenbach criticizes her for using her large platform to spread misinformation rather than science to the masses.
In pesticide news, Syngenta announces its request for the US Environmental Protection Agency to approve new uses of its neonicotinoid insecticide. The agrochemical company asserts that farmers are in critical need of additional insect pest control for a number of crops due to emerging, invasive, or resistant pests. Noting numerous studies have shown that pollinators can exist safely with the insecticide, they contend their product is an essential crop protection tool for farmers.
Meanwhile, Labiotech’s Clara Rodriguez Fernandez examines five real-life technologies where science seems to meet science fiction. She contends the development of CRISPR/Cas9 technology is making it faster, easier, and cheaper to modify genes, spurning unprecedented innovation to combat diseases like hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. Noting that scientists are also on the edge of 3D printing organs, creating healthy synthetic food, and using technology to more accurately diagnose, Fernandez asserts it won’t be long before these science fiction dreams become reality.
Maya Menon, Washington.