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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) Will people eat gene-edited foods? That question, this article states, is “rippling through the food industry, where a battle for public opinion is under way even before the new gene-edited foods hit the market. Proponents including scientists and agriculture-industry executives say gene editing in plants could transform agriculture and help feed a growing global population. Organic farmers and natural-food companies say it may pose risks to human health and permanently alter the environment by spreading beyond farms.” The agricultural industry desperately wants to avoid a situation like the one with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which consumers generally mistrust, despite being deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. The industry argues that new biotechnology methods such as CRISPR, Talen and Zinc-finger nucleases are fundamentally different than technologies like GMOs. The newer methods don’t insert genes from outside species. Instead, they alter the plants’ own DNA. “What we’re doing is basically boosting Mother Nature to a degree, just in a more efficient manner,” says Adrian Percy, head of agricultural research for German drug and chemical maker Bayer AG. But the Non-GMO Project, a group that supports and certifies foods made without genetically engineered crops, calls the new technology “GMO 2.0.” As these new crops move closer to supermarket shelves, the decisions by shoppers will determine the reach of this new technology. “Ultimately, the consumers have the final say about what technology is used in the public market,” says Neal Gutterson, the chief technology officer of DowDuPont’s agricultural division.

Posted April 16th, 2018
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