Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiasco

Gene-edited crops can help produce safe and affordable food and energy. But proponents need to make a legitimate case to consumers

Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiascoWill Canadian consumers want to eat gene-edited food? There's a lot of excitement in agriculture about the introduction of gene-edited food products into the Canadian food system over the next few years. But there’s also a great deal of apprehension. Gene editing is about tweaking a plant’s genome by turning off certain genetic traits. By…

The dark side of the Non-GMO Project

Suggesting that food products with the Non-GMO Project label are safer and more nutritious is simply misleading and rests on scrawny scientific evidence

The dark side of the Non-GMO ProjectMost consumers have seen Non-GMO logos on bread and other food products at the grocery store. But the verification program now faces criticism. The Non-GMO Project verified logo is now on over 50,000 food products in North America that bring in more than $30 billion in retail sales. The green leaves and orange butterfly logo first…

Planting the seeds for broader understanding of food’s origins

In the retail food business, customers have plenty of questions about how their food is produced. The answers often surprise them

Planting the seeds for broader understanding of food’s originsBy Jackie Fraser Small business owner “Are there any BMOs in this?” my dear customer asks. It takes me a moment to realize she's not asking about the bank. Sigh. Where do I start with this one? My husband and I own a fresh food retail store and catering company in Fergus, Ont. He’s the chef…

All the food we eat has been modified by humans

The world of food marketing is full of deception. The truth is there is very little that’s 'natural' about our food, but that doesn't make it dangerous

All the food we eat has been modified by humans“All natural” is a food marketer’s delight. Customers love it, the words generate positive thoughts, and there’s no official definition or standard at all. It means whatever you want it to. That’s why so many food products have the word “natural” somewhere prominent on their labels. The word sells product and represents a free-for-all for…

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the world

Scientists have found no negative differences in the health of people eating GM and non-GM foods

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the worldThe changing environment means we face weather patterns that haven’t been seen in generations. And that means new challenges in feeding humanity. But we have the tools. Storms and floods are more frequent and widespread. Changing temperatures affect oceans and lands, wildlife and crops. Because we haven’t seen such changes before, we often don’t know…

The most irrational, damaging or downright dumb beliefs of 2017

A look back at 2017 shows far too many instances in Canada where we got it all wrong

The most irrational, damaging or downright dumb beliefs of 2017For my first column of the New Year, I’ve dipped into my collection of irrational, damaging or downright dumb happenings in 2017. The year saw major breakthroughs in the use of genetically-modified human cells to treat diseases, including retinal dystrophy and blood cancer. Human genetic re-engineering is an emerging science but there has been little…

Burying Monsanto could give GMO science a new lease on life

By having science on its side, Monsanto seemed to believe there was no need to answer public concerns – and that was a huge PR mistake

Burying Monsanto could give GMO science a new lease on lifePutting Monsanto out of its misery could mean future debate about genetically-modified crops will be based on facts rather than emotion. Monsanto is arguably the most detested company in the world. But now, Bayer’s acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto will likely mean the latter (or at least its brand) will slowly disappear. Many suspect Monsanto intended to kill its brand…

Genetically-modified salmon set to hit the market

Labelling regulations need to be modified so consumers have final word on the technology

Genetically-modified salmon set to hit the marketGenetically-modified salmon will soon be on Canada's supermarket shelves, but are retailers and consumers prepared? After four years of testing, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have approved AquaBounty Technologies’ genetically-modified salmon for retail sale in Canada. Given that the mighty U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the same technology six months ago, Canada’s…

GMO salmon means there are now bigger fish to fry

The case for GMO salmon is compelling: twice as fast growth, 25% less food to produce, high protein conversion rate

GMO salmon means there are now bigger fish to fryAquaBounty has apparently become aquaculture’s Monsanto. The company’s genetically-engineered Atlantic salmon has just made history by achieving U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for human consumption. But some major American supermarkets, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Aldi, Target and Kroger, are already saying they will boycott the product. As biotechnologies make their way to the supermarkets and our…

Frankenfood follies put world at peril

GMOs may be the only way to avoid catastrophic global water and food shortages

Frankenfood follies put world at perilThe UN’s annual World Water Development Report, published in March, warned that unless the balance between demand and supplies is restored the world will face a “global water deficit” of 40 per cent by 2030. Two weeks ago, protestors in hundreds of cities in 38 countries rallied against agricultural research giant Monsanto’s genetically modified plant…