On the Radio: Study looks into benefits of GM crops


A corn field in Pomeroy, Iowa. (keeva999/Flickr)
A corn field in Pomeroy, Iowa. (keeva999/Flickr)
December 29, 2014

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at a recent study that looks at the benefits of genetically modified crops. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

A recent German study suggests that genetically modified crops may be more beneficial for the economy and the environment than previously thought.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The study – which was funded by German and European Union agencies – was published in November. The researchers examined genetically modified crops from 1995 to 2014 and concluded that genetically modified crops reduce pesticide use by 37 percent, increased crop yields by 22 percent, and increased farmer profits by 68 percent. This decrease in pesticide use resulted in cost savings for farmers and less potential runoff.

In 2014, Iowa planted more genetically modified corn and soy beans than any other state in the country.

For more information about this study and genetically modified crops, visit IowaEnironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/11/german-study-finds-gm-crops-good-for-farmers-and-the-environment/#.VGGt0_nF_Jc; http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/07/20/iowa-goes-bananas-gmos

Iowa grocery shoppers have varied views on GMOs


 

The produce section of a Hy-Vee in Ankeny, Iowa (Douglas Porter/Flickr)
The produce section of a Hy-Vee in Ankeny, Iowa (Douglas Porter/Flickr)

The use of genetically modified organisms ranks low in the list of factors Iowans consider when buying groceries, according to a new survey from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

The study, conducted online by Harris Poll, surveyed around 500 Iowans who buy groceries, focusing on the factors that influence packaged food purchases. It found that while 95 percent of Iowa’s corn is genetically modified, only 18 percent of consumers said a GMO label would cause them to choose one product over another, falling well behind “Natural” (30%) and “Organic” (25%) and just ahead of “Gluten free” (13%), according to a Des Moines Register infographic. Taste and price were listed among the most important factors behind packaged food purchases.

The study found confusion around the usefulness of GMO labels on packaged products. While 36 percent of those surveyed believe a non-GMO label denotes a safer product, 32 percent think the label is meaningless. Faced with the option of paying more for food with a GMO-free label, 38 percent opted for the lower price, while 26 percent preferred the non-GMO product and 36 percent were unsure.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that genetically modified plants must meet the same safety requirements for human consumption as traditionally bred plants, the World Health Organization has highlighted some environmental concerns of the technology, like decreased crop rotation, harm to beneficial insects and the potential for new plant pathogens.

On the Radio: Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act


James Palinsad, via Flickr
James Palinsad, via Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, a bill recently introduced in Congress which would put the federal government in charge of labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

 

A new bill introduced in Congress could put the federal government in charge of labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The bill, known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, would prevent states from enacting their own requirements on GMO labeling.

It will also make it difficult for states to prevent food companies from putting a “natural” label on any product that does contain GMOs.

While more than two-dozen states are considering bills that would mandate some form of labeling, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have passed measures into law.

In July 2013, a New York Times survey found that 93% of Americans feel that foods with GMOs should be labeled.

However, the debate on GMO labeling will continue as interest groups debate the merits of this legislation.

For more information on the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

On the Radio: Rootworm Resistance


 

Photo by Sarah Zukoff; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers a western corn rootworm’s growing resistance to genetically modified corn. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

Iowa State Study: Rootworm Resists Genetically Modified Corn


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Photo by VistaVision; Flickr

A recently published study from Iowa State University found that corn-destroying rootworms have evolved to be resistant to the Bt corn engineered to kill them.

Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, the name of the genetically modified corn’s “donor” organism. Bt corn accounted for three-quarters of all corn planting in 2013.

To read an abstract of the study, click here.

 

An in-depth look at GMOs


Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 1.18.54 PMNathanael Johnson from Grist.org, and environmental news and opinion site, has gone on a six month adventure to create a  26-part series on GMOs.

To explore the series, follow this link. 

To learn more about Johnson and his work, head over to IPR.

Judge Halts GMO Corn Planting in Mexico


Photo by Iguanasan; Flickr

A federal judge in Mexico issued a ruling early this month suspending any planting of genetically modified (GMO) corn in the country.   The legal ruling came in response to a suit filed by local non-governmental organizations seeking a permanent ban on GMO corn in the country.

To learn more, follow this link.