Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Organic marketers lost an advocate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the resignation of deputy administrator Miles McEvoy, according to Hank Campbell of American Council on Science & Health. Campbell claims McEvoy helped marketers get a free pass on misleading absence-related claims for organic products, capitalizing on consumer fear when in reality organic foods aren’t necessarily safer than conventional ones.
Consumer misunderstandings about food were the topic a column for Food Beast blogger Constantine Spyrou who examined Michigan State University’s latest Food Literacy and Engagement Poll, which found 30 percent of Americans falsely believe non-GMO foods don’t contain genes. Spyrou voices a fear for the future of food literacy and science, as she contends this poll attests to the misinformation resulting from fear-mongering anti-GMO activists, and urges the public to refer to science-based sources, like the Food Evolution documentary.
GMO misinformation also drew the attention of Genetic Literacy Project’s Andrew Porterfield, who disputes claims that GMOs are responsible for a recent spike in food allergies in the U.S. He notes all GM foods undergo rigorous testing by European and U.S. health agencies for allergic potential and says all allergens are caught by researchers in the early stages. Additionally, Porterfield notes GM versions don’t exist for the most common allergy-inducing foods like peanuts, milk and eggs.
Meanwhile, science did not prevail in the European Union when it implemented a ban on neonic pesticides, argues physician and molecular biologist Henry Miller in an op-ed for the San Jose Mercury News. Miller asserts the ban was misguided from the start since there exists ample evidence that neonics were not a cause of honeybee decline. Using other negative results of misguided food and agriculture regulations as examples, Miller makes the case that regulators should follow scientific fact rather than cynical agendas.
I’m Maya Menon for the Food and Ag report in Washington.