Gene editing as defined by Merriam Webster is, the use of biotechnological techniques to make changes to specific DNA sequences in the genome of a living organism. This basically means that scientists can go into DNA strands and edit them to display, or not display a certain trait. This can allow for greater accuracy and efficiency of an organism at interest. It is also noted that the process of gene editing usually would naturally occur in nature after repeated breeding. Gene editing just speeds up the process of improving genetics.
This technology of being able to change genetic material in a beneficial way is extremely important for the future of agriculture. It is extremely important in the food and fiber production system and the forever increasing demand of these products. Gene editing can benefit farmers in allowing them to keep up with the demand to produce food. This adds a great value to gene editing because it is one way producers can meet the demand for food and fiber, that will continue to grow.
I was very sad to not be able to attend the field trip to see Georgie Cartanza’s poultry operation. I think it would have been very interesting to see how her operation ran and looked, compared to my poultry operation back at home. After hearing about the field trip I thought it was really cool how Georgie kind of fell into the poultry industry, after working for Perdue. Today, it seems like a lot of producers/farmers usually go into the industry because of family ties. So it was cool to hear that. Also, it was really interesting hear that her one piece of advice for someone who wanted to enter the poultry industry was to take business classes. This particularly stuck out to me because in trying to decide my post high school plans, it was the fact that many farmers in my area strongly encouraged a business education before returning to the farm. So it was really cool to hear that Georgie also recommends this and that it is an important thing to have. Those two pieces of the field trip were what stuck out to me the most. Despite not actually being there, it sounded like Georgie runs a top notch operation!
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, corn etc… One of the biggest controversies in the food world today is determining whether food products containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled so. The argument for labeling comes down to the right to know: Consumers should be well informed of what’s in their food.
One of the cons of labeling food products that contain genetically modified ingredients is that the majority of consumers have no idea what GMO means or they see other products that are labeled Non-GMO so they think if a product is genetically modified it must be some terrible thing. Therefore, food manufacturers hesitate to label their products in fear that sales will go down. There needs to be outreach and educational programs for consumers to learn more about GMOs. This is tricky for food producers to do because consumers might not believe information that is coming directly from them.
Another reason food producers advocate for keeping GMO labels off food products is how expensive it would be for them to change their labels for maybe one or two states that require it. Also, adding genetically modified to a label suggests that the food might cause health problems. This is exactly what anti-GMO and organic food marketers want consumers to think. Labeling food products genetically modified will be more expensive for the company and if consumers don’t know what GMO means it provides no useful information to them
All the disadvantages aside, consumers should be well informed of what’s in their food. I firmly believe that food producers need to be open and honest about what they are putting in their food, it’s the first step in creating trust between them and the consumer. However, I do understand their hesitation, with so many consumers being uneducated it wouldn’t be a smart move, financially. Labeling genetically modified products might be what food producers need to show consumers that they want to create a stronger relationship by being transparent with the public knowing that it might affect their sales negatively.