WBEZ | GMO http://www.wbez.org/tags/gmo Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: What are your political peccadillos? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-18/morning-shift-what-are-your-political-peccadillos <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capitol - Flickr - Teemu008.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss Reboot Illinois, which allows people to voice their concerns regarding policy and lawmakers in Illinois. And, State Senator David Kohler explains how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being dealt with in your supermarket.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-67/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-67.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-67" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: What are your political peccadillos? " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 08:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-18/morning-shift-what-are-your-political-peccadillos State senate bill mandates labels on genetically engineered food http://www.wbez.org/news/state-senate-bill-mandates-labels-genetically-engineered-food-108310 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/GM Foods 130807 AY_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed Illinois senate bill aims to label all genetically engineered food. A hearing on the bill takes place this Wednesday in the southern Illinois town of Carbondale.</p><p>Emily Carroll of the advocacy group Food and Water Watch supports the bill..</p><p>&ldquo;This is not a ban, it&rsquo;s not about economics, it&rsquo;s not about science, this is just about the consumer&rsquo;s right to know,&rdquo; Carroll said. &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t track the effects of genetically engineered food because right now they aren&rsquo;t labelled. This is a huge public health experiment but without the information for people to actually know what they&rsquo;re eating.&rdquo;</p><p>The legislation won&rsquo;t address the merits or drawbacks of genetic engineering, says the sponsor of the bill, Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria). He says he&rsquo;ll leave that question to experts and scientists.</p><p>The last public hearing on the labelling bill is scheduled for September 17th in Chicago. Similar legislation earlier this summer passed in Maine and Connecticut, but failed in California last fall. More than 10 other states are considering labeling measures. In polls like these two, Americans support labelling genetically engineered food.</p><p>Back when the California bill was being debated, the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement saying the science is clear -- &ldquo;crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.&rdquo; AAAS says the Food and Drug Administration requires special labelling on food only if there is a special health or environmental risk without that information. It concludes that in this case, &ldquo;legally mandated labels will only mislead and falsely alarm consumers.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s not that simple, says Jennifer Kuzma, an associate professor of science and technology policy at the University of Minnesota. Last fall, she reviewed the scientific literature on genetically engineered food.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t really say that all genetically engineered foods are safe or unsafe,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>For example, scientists could take a scorpion toxin and put it into a corn plant, or an allergen from shrimp or seafood and put it into corn. Kuzma says that&rsquo;s probably not very safe. On the other hand, she points out plants have naturally occurring toxins to defend themselves against insects. For example, if farmers used conventional methods to breed potatoes that have more of their natural toxins, than those potatoes might not be safe for humans to eat. She concludes that both ways are capable of producing unsafe crops.</p><p>Kuzma says there are arguments for and against labelling, but points out it comes down to how much people trust the food industry.</p><p>&ldquo;Often these decisions about these crops are made behind closed doors, and all of a sudden, people are presented with &lsquo;oh, it&rsquo;s on the market and and I&rsquo;m eating it? Really?&rsquo; I think that can anger people.&rdquo;</p><p>She stresses safety is not just a scientific issue, but a social construction.</p><p>&ldquo;I can say, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve tested this, and it showed no health effects over the two-year life of a rat, that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean that it&rsquo;s safe for humans to eat over a lifetime,&rdquo; Kuzma said. &ldquo;I think we need to decide what is safe as a society, what will we accept in terms of uncertainties that we&rsquo;re willing to deal with in order to reap the benefits of some of these crops.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him @Alan_Yu039.</em></p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 17:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-senate-bill-mandates-labels-genetically-engineered-food-108310 Worldview 1.14.13 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-14/worldview-11413-104904 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/GMOs.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-power-politics-of-genetically-modified-o.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-power-politics-of-genetically-modified-o" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Power politics of Genetically Modified Organisms" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-14/worldview-11413-104904 'Bitter Seeds' film exposes epidemic of Indian farmer suicides http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/segment/bitter-seeds-film-exposes-epidemic-indian-farmer-suicides-99653 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120223013760_0.jpg" title="An Indian farmer sprays fertilizer at his paddy field in Burha Mayong east of Gauhati, India in February 2012. Agriculture is the source of livelihood for around 115 million farming families, about 70 percent of India's population. (AP/Anupam Nath)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Big agribusiness companies like U.S.-based Monsanto claim their genetically modified (GM) seeds offer effective solutions to feeding the globe&rsquo;s exploding population. But there&rsquo;s growing concern over such technological trade-offs. Even those of us who own iPhones have only to read the stories coming from the Apple/Foxconn plant in China to see that an easier life for us can come at great cost to the impoverished in the developing world.</p><p>These GM seeds are sterile and therefor don&rsquo;t regenerate. Farmers can no longer depend on nature for their survival and are forced to buy from multinational agribusiness entities like Monsanto or ADM in order to plant anew. On the ground, small-scale farmers are losing their land. The situation is especially desperate in India, where <a href="http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article2577635.ece">an epidemic of farmer suicides has claimed over a quarter-million lives in the last 17 years</a>. Every 30 minutes, one farmer in India, deep in debt, commits suicide.</p><p>Wednesday,<em> Worldview </em><em>talks</em> with director Micha X. Peled, who had documented this epidemic in the film <em>Bitter Seeds</em>. It begins in 2004, when an American company introduced genetically modified seeds to the Indian market, with catastrophic results for local farmers. <em>Bitter Seeds</em> follows one farmer through a disappointing season of drought and parasite infestation. Required by a money-lender to put up his land as collateral, he gambles on everything he has.<em> Bitter Seeds</em> is the final film in Peled&rsquo;s &ldquo;Globalization Trilogy,&rdquo; following <a href="http://teddybearfilms.fatcow.com/2011/08/01/store-wars/"><em>Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town</em></a> and <a href="http://teddybearfilms.fatcow.com/2011/09/01/china-blue/"><em>China Blue</em></a>.</p><p>Bitter Seeds<em><a href="http://ff.hrw.org/film/bitter-seeds?city=6"> screens Wednesday May 30)</a> at the Gene Siskel Film Center as part of the <a href="http://ff.hrw.org/chicago">Human Rights Watch Film Festival</a>. </em><em>Panel discussion&nbsp;with filmmaker, Arvind Ganeson of Human Rights Watch and Rebekah Silverman, associate director for Growing Home</em><em>.</em></p></div><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QZtKB_KuASc" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 30 May 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/segment/bitter-seeds-film-exposes-epidemic-indian-farmer-suicides-99653