Tag Archives: GMO

Extra Credit #4- ‘Misleading Label’ – Reflection

During our October 21st Class, after Mr. SEVERSON gave his lecture on the Livestock Industry, he tasked the class with finding a, ‘misleading label’. He defined these labels as a marketing ploy used to trick consumers into paying more or simply buying a product for supposed added health benefits or desirable traits said product may have already possessed. Three examples he came across that we were not permitted to use were, ‘Gluten-free tomatoes’, ‘non-GMO salt’, and ‘organic? cat litter’…

Here are some products that I found in the health food section of the nearby PathMark (now ACME):


‘Gluten-Free’ & ‘non-GMO’ water

‘Blackwater’? – Horrible Brand name, but if this water only contains minerals- instead of what traditional blackwater has- there should be no organisms, modified or otherwise… & no gluten!

‘Non-fat’ Prunes

Prunes (& plums) don’t have fat…

‘Gluten-free’ Hazelnut Creamer

Nuts don’t have gluten…

Document Reflection: CFI- Gene Editing Communication Resource in 2018

Gene editing or genome editing is one of the most promising innovations today which can be used to modify gene to resist disease for organism, increase the production of livestock and plants and so on. This advanced technology help improving the farmers’ s and food industries’ business significantly. But it also rises up a huge amount of concern from public. Because less than half people understand what gene editing is, it is easy to fear something that people isn’t familiar with. Therefore, scientists or experts have responsibility to explain. Also, how to demonstrate it is important. There are several effective communication approaches introduced in this document. Frist of all, people are more willing to trust experts or scientist rather than the companies or farmers who sell these GMO products. It is more acceptable, if explaining gene edition by telling that this technology is just similar to the potential of improving human health by using gene editing. And spokespersons should embrace skepticism and respect what people beliefs. Sharing an idea that people can take benefits from this technology most, not the companies, and the plants, animals and environment can be benefitable.

If public can understand more about the advanced technologies popping out in this world, listen to others’ ideas, not only opposing the new technologies, it will help to solve many issues in this planet.

Reflection of Mark Lynas lecture on Farming in 2013 Oxford

I watched a movie today that Mark Linus talked about why he changed his mind from an anti-GMO to support GMO in 2013 Oxford conference. Before I watch Mark Lynas’ s speech, I have heard about many countries opposed GMO. There are many concerns about the GMO will pollute GenBank of whether organism’ s or our human’ s in nature. Some claims that GMO is against to God, or human has no right to change the nature. The thing surprised me is how those people opposed GMO. In Kenya, if you plant GMO crop, you will be sent to prison for 10 years, even though GMO crop have higher yield. People refuse science because of religion. I can’t imagine that thing happens in the 21th centuries. It recalled me the conflict between geocentric theory and heliocentric theory. The global population are growing, and it need the innovative and advanced technology to improve the yield of crops. The anti-GMO organizations support organic food, they believe organic food are healthier. But it has been proven that organic food is not healthier than other food and it is expensive and has a low yield. In the other word, the GMO crop can have higher yield in less land, pesticide, time, and money. If there is a ban for GMO all over the world, millions of people will be died by starving, and more land, like rain forests, will be used to grow crops. I do not think that will be a good result.

Mark Lynas GMO Speech

Mark Lynas, a world- renowned environmentalist, spoke at the 2013 oxford conference about genetically modified organisms and how his perspective on them changed when faced with science. During earlier years, Mark believed that GMOs were unhealthy for the people and the environment that used more pesticide’s then crops with their initial genetics; causing him to set up a campaign that was against GMOs and the usage of them. However, as the years proceeded forward, Mark slowly came faced with different experiences that led him to the scientific part of GMOs rather than the opinion of an Anti-GMO Environmentalist. This essentially led him to the discovery that GMOs use less pesticides and produce higher yields with less land which allows producers to feed more people with less of a need of additional investments such as, pesticides, that are believed to harm the surrounding ecosystems, people, and overall environment.

With this discovery, came a realization, that in years-time the world will need to feed the equivalent of 9.5 billion people with less land, water, fertilizer and pesticides with a global demand increase for food of 100%; to keep up with the growing population and the changes in economic stability within it. In addition to this realization, researchers proclaimed to the Anti- GMO Environmentalist and their act to remove GMOs would cause the world to face great hunger due to the lack of ability to feed the world with traditional or organic crops. Before this realization, Mr. Lynas also believed that organic crops were healthier and safer and would be better to grow overall. However, he changed his mind after the discovery that organic crops grow slower, need more labor, and more land to produce enough food to feed the world as well as are less likely to produce a good yield to contribute to the supply of food for the people.

With organic crops, he also found that they have caused more people to die and suffer, such as the Ecoli, breakout then GMO crops have in the 70 years they have been around. “The GMO debate is over, it is finished, we no longer need to discuss whether or not it’s not safe…there have been a substantial amount of meals that have caused no harm” (Mark Lynas). Essentially, Mr. Lynas was faced with scientific information instead of opinionated information which allowed him to realize that GMOs were safer and a more efficient technology to use now and in the future time and hopes that with this information, he will become a better environmentalist.

Mark Lynas 180 Degree Change

I think Mark is very brave to admit his mistakes and be able to embrace them and come forward to such a large crowd. I think it was almost better for him to start out the way he did because it gave him a better understanding of why GMOs were good and it also showed him why people think they are bad. So now he can help inform those people and people around the world the right way and explain it to them how he learned about it and why he changed. He makes his case by saying when he thought about GMOs he just thought about evil scientists working in a lab making up these food concoctions. He didn’t trust them because they were marketed by big corporations and had really not looked into it more than that. But, finally when he did look more into it and got more of an academic understanding of what GMOs really do and their health benefits his Anti-GMO views started to fall apart. Another point he talks about is how he thought they would need more chemicals to take care of these GMO crops when really it would take less chemicals because the plants were meant to deal with it better. He hits beautifully on how GMOs genetics aren’t really as unnatural as everyone thinks and how this type of genome mix happens in nature and its called a gene flow. Mark Lynas states his case well and does a great job at saying why he  was wrong and exactly why he was by using facts.

Dave Mayonado & Biotechnology

In class we had the opportunity to hear Dave Mayonado talk about biotechnology and his experience with Monsanto, and now Bayer. He started out but briefly talking about agricultural practices before we had all this precision agriculture technology and biotechnology. Explaining how land grant universities had the ability to conduct great amounts of research about agriculture. Afterwards he began to dive into how the knowledge of genetics and proteins in a plants genome has created for so many advances in agriculture. The ability for seed companies to insert targeted traits, silence traits, or add traits into a plants DNA allowed for them to start producing seeds that wouldn’t die from glyphosate, withstand drought better, produce higher levels of oil, and much more. This changed the face of agriculture. However, this technology is something that is heavily targeted but anti-GMO activists despite the fact that it is constantly being proven as a safe technology. In being employed with now Bayer, Mayonado has to be an agvocate for such technology, although that may not be formally in his job description.

I thought it was really interesting how Mayonado explained he spends a lot of the time in his job, working with government officials to educate them on this technology. The food and fiber system is quite the platform for political figures but yet a lot of them really have no idea what they are actually talking about. In saying so, I think a lot of people don’t realize that major seed companies have to take many different roles in educating consumers/political figures in order to continue to have successful company. He also talked about how they are constantly having to research, create, and produce new products in order to keep up with the producer and the demands. A big concern with this technology is the development of resistance in pests, so marketing new products so producers have different modes of action is crucial to a biotech company like Bayer. Creation of such products is lengthy, costly process but if done correctly can be very financially rewarding. Clearly, Monsanto/Bayer have been able to do just that.

Mayonado gave a great lecture pertaining to biotechnology and his experience within the company. Although I may not have understand all the technical science in his presentation, the one point that stuck out to me was that he never has the same work day. Things are always changing, and that is innovation something that excites me as a future producer.

Genetically Modified Crops

There are 10 genetically modified crops commercially sold in The United States. These crops include alfalfa, apples, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash, and sugar beets. The reason that these crops are genetically modified are varied.  These reasons include to prevent crops from browning, herbicide tolerance, blight resistance, drought tolerance, disease resistance, insect resistance, and low acrylamide. What really surprised me was that fact that most of these crops were genetically modified in the 90s and early 2000s. I did not realize that we had the technology to genetically modify crops at that time. Although there are only 10 crops genetically modified sold commercially in the Untied States these crops are used in order to make many other foods. I am very glad that I looked closer in to genetically modified crops and what specific crops are genetically modified. To be honest I thought there were than 10 crops that were genetically modified. None the less, I am very interested in furthering my knowledge on this topic.

Which GM crops are commercially available?

According to Monsanto’s website, there are 10 commercially available crops in US grocery stores today.

  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Cotton
  • Soybean
  • Corn
  • Papaya
  • Alfalfa
  • Sugar Beets
  • Canola
  • Potato
  • Apples

I liked how Monsanto provides info on a few other crops that may be commonly misconceived to be GM. Seedless watermelon, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots are a few examples that have evolved by traditional selective breeding.

Also, GM Salmon has been on the shelves in Canada for a while now, but is still being debated for use in the US.


Biotechnology and GMOs

The Only 10 GM Crops Grown

Genetically modified crops is a very highly opinionated topic for almost all consumers and producers. Some people are strongly pulled in either direction, with very few who fall in the middle as far as anti-GM or in support of GM crops. While some of these consumers are educated on what a GMO actually is and what crops are actually genetically modified, others are not educated and can easily fall victim to false information and advertising tricks.

There are in fact only 10 genetically modified crops grown and they are: cotton, soybeans, corn, squash, papaya, alfalfa, sugar beets, canola, potatoes, and apples. An uneducated consumer would probably disagree with the previous statement, but there are actually only 10 genetically modified crops. So when a customer goes into a grocery store and buys GMO free bananas, GMO free bread, and GMO free rice, although it is free of genetic modification, there was never a chance for it to be genetically modified because GM bananas, wheat, and rice are not a thing. This concept is heavily used for marketing tactics for many products. The misconception and lack of education on what is actually genetically modified  and what is not, will continue to be the basis of many problems in the food & fiber industry.

Dan Severson and and GMO’s

Following the topic of Livestock in which Dan spoke about, he gave us a homework topic. Our job as a student was to research and find out how many crops are actually made with GMO’s. As soon as we were given the task, I began to wonder, did he ask because there actually aren’t any crops made with GMOs? Or did he ask because in reality all crops were made with GMO’s? As soon as I got the chance I sat down to think about it for myself, and come to find out there are 10 crops in the United States that are grown using GMO’s. These crops consist of; corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, papaya, squash, canola, alfalfa, apples, and sugar beet. This came as a surprise to me, because even though I didn’t really know what to expect I was intrigued to find out that a lot of the crops grown locally and frequently in Delaware are grown using GMO’s. I am glad I was given this homework because it gave me a chance to dive into GMO’s which as a class we have talked about recently as well as going deeper into the make of the crops that are grown around me.

GM Crops – Dan Severson Lecture

Despite popular belief that GMOs are taking over the food industry within the United States, there are actually only ten crops that are approved to be genetically modified and produced within the country.  These ten crops include corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beets, potatoes, papaya, squash, alfalfa, and apples. More than 90% of acreage dedicated to soybean, cotton, corn, canola and sugar beet is GMO, but most of these commodity crops aren’t sold directly to consumers anyhow, but to other disciplines such as the production of ethanol.  While only ten crops are approved and produced by GMO, there are over 120 varieties of GM crops, and it can be difficult to find processed foods that don’t include a GMO ingredient. Furthermore, while many people are under the impression that these ten GM crops pose a threat to their health, it is actually the exact opposite; the most recently approved GM crop is the potato, which was approved due to its resistance in bruising and the fact that it produces less of a cancer-causing chemical than non-GM potatoes.  A lot of these facts come as a surprise to many people who aren’t well-educated about genetically modified crops, including myself, but are vitally important to learn and understand.

Mark Lynas at 2013 Oxford Farming Conference

During a 2013 conference on farming Mark Lynas spoke about GMOs. Mark Lynas originally was against GMOs and was publicly speaking against them. He thought they were run by large corporations and only benefited the rich. Mark said that this was not the case and that many small and local farmers benefited from GMOs. Mark also said that one of the reasons he did not support GMOs was because he thought they used more pesticides. He later found out that this was also not the case and genetically modified agriculture used less pesticides than non-modified types of agriculture. He has now switched his view points on this matter. He has done his research and truly believes that GMOs will play a crucial role in feeding a rapidly increasing  human population. Mark stated that by 2050 there would be around 9.5 billion people on the earth and that we would have to increase our current agriculture production by over 100%. He also said that one of common myths people believe for why the human population is growing is because developing and poor nations are having a lot of babies. He went on to say that this not entirely true. The main reason the human population is rapidly growing is due to the increase in medical care. Today more and more kids are making past childhood and reproducing. Mark said that there are a around 2 billion children around the world who will be responsible for the 9.5 billion human population. Overall I found this video insightful and shining light on some myths that I thought were true.


Mark Lynas help found the anti-GMO campaign back in 1995. He felt that GMO’s would act as pollution. He also felt that people were getting to much technological power since we were “mixing species.” During the 2013 Oxford Farming Conference he also mentions that it was very anti-science since they pictured scientist doing gene splitting as mad scientists. It wasn’t until he did more research and found information that he realized his thoughts were wrong. This change was started by a comment on his final anti-gm piece on the Garden. A critic told him “so you’re opposed to GM on the basis it’s marketed by big corporations are you also against the wheel since it’s marketed by big auto companies.” This led to him researching since the analogy caught his attention. In the end he found that GMO’s benefited people, farmers, and the ecosystem. It was interesting to hear how he was working on a Global warming project and informing people with science but wasn’t using any science in his campaign against GMO’s in 1995 and his pieces on the Garden.
My view on genetically modified organisms is pro GMO’s since they provide many benefits to people and the ecosystem. With GMOs we can grow crops that need less water, fertilizer application and can be more resistant to pest. This in turn means less pollution of waterways from fertilizer which can lead to eutrophication and less pesticide, fungicide and herbicide needing to be used. This helps protect the land and water we do have while protecting animals. The benefit other than saving money by using less fertilizer and control methods on pest is we get increased yield from the same farm. This in turn allows people to protect more forest from getting destroyed for the use of more fields. The decrease in cost is also helpful in developing countries since it reduces the cost for them making it easier to become self-sustaining.

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

Mark Lynas was one of the co-founding members of the anti-GMO’s that began campaigning back in the late 1990’s about how GMO’s are so dangerous and could be leading to the use of more chemicals in the crops now. But during the time he was writing his book he pulled a full 180 an began to relies that the dangers in the GMO’s are really not the more people have gotten sick from actually eating Organic food’s. Which don’t get treated with anything to help prevent pests or the disease in from attacking the plant. When he realized that the GMO plant’s didn’t have any backlash of people getting sick from his research and that they actually wont be spraying as many chemicals because the seeds and plants are able to defend themselves from the pests or disease.

Also he realized if we don’t continue to use these GMO’s the world will run out of food because organic farmers wont be able to keep up with the demands of crops needing to be produced. Where GMO’s are making the yields much higher for farmers that have minimal area to work with due to the increase of people in the country’s.

For all of these reasons that Mark talked about in this video he gave me more info to throw at people when they argue that GMO’s are bad and they hurt people. I can actually give evidence that Mark used it this video and back myself up. Also it keeps me still believing that GMO’s are not bad still because if it wasn’t for the crops we probably would have extremely expensive crops in the stores because there would be to much bad media behind GMO’s.