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1. 2 What are the issues? Biotechnology vs. traditional breeding methods Food safety Environment Social.

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Presentation on theme: "1. 2 What are the issues? Biotechnology vs. traditional breeding methods Food safety Environment Social."— Presentation transcript:

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2 2 What are the issues? Biotechnology vs. traditional breeding methods Food safety Environment Social

3 3 What is biotechnology? A collection of scientific techniques, including genetic engineering. –Used to improve plants, animals and microorganisms. –Can modify crops and livestock more precisely than traditional breeding methods.

4 4 Why biotechnology Throughout history, we have bred crops and livestock to be hardier and provide more food. Biotechnology is another tool to provide a safe, abundant food supply.

5 5 It involves cutting and moving snippets of DNA (genes for specific desirable traits) from one plant, animal or microbe to another. What is genetic engineering? Unlike traditional crossbreeding techniques, only one or a few genes are introduced into the host species. Therefore, unwanted traits usually are avoided.

6 6 When? Why? Who? In 2001, an estimated 5.5 million farmers grew biotech crops on 130 million acres in 15 countries (led by the United States, Canada and Argentina). Soybeans, cotton, canola and corn are the major biotech crops planted. Cheese was the first food product of biotechnology. The enzyme Chymosin (bioengineered rennin) appeared on the market in By 1995, other crops were developed to delay ripening or reduce crop damage by weeds, diseases and insects.

7 7 Foods made from biotech crops Biotech disease- resistant papaya and squash are available. Biotech varieties of potato, tomato, rice, flax, sugar beet, sweet corn, melon and radicchio are approved for use in the U.S. but currently are not on the market. About percent of all processed foods now contain at least one ingredient from a genetically engineered plant. In 2002, more than 70 percent of soybeans, 30 percent of the corn crop and 70 percent of the cotton crop in the U.S. were engineered for pest control.

8 8 Dairy and meat products More than 70 percent of cheese on the U.S. market is made with a genetically engineered enzyme (chymosin). Milk commonly is obtained from cows treated with a biotech growth hormone (rBST) in order to increase milk production. Livestock routinely eat feed made from biotech crops. No genetically engineered fish, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens or other food animals were on the market as of 2002.

9 9 Other products Vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements Medicines: virtually all insulin is biotech Detergents Textiles Pulp and paper Leather Metals Fuels

10 10 Safer food supply for consumers Less impact on the environment Less expensive food production Crops less vulnerable to insects, diseases and weeds Crops with higher/greater nutritional content Crops used for new materials and energy sources Crops developed as production vehicles for medicines and vaccines to prevent disease Potential benefits and goals

11 11 Potential risks being evaluated Farmworker and consumer safety Environmental effects on plants, animals and water systems Genes moving from genetically engineered crops into wild plants Pests eventually developing resistance to pest-resistant crops Introduction of allergy-causing compounds into foods

12 12 Environmental impact Traditional pesticide use may be substantially reduced. Soil conservation practices may be improved. Pollen may be transferred to closely related species. Pests exposed to pest-resistant crops may develop resistance.

13 13 Safety regulators in the U.S. These agencies work with university scientists and other individuals to ensure that regulations are based on sound science. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) –Determines if it is safe to eat U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –Determines if it is safe for the environment U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) –Determines if it is safe to grow

14 14 Safety evidence All available evidence to date shows that foods from biotech crops are as safe as foods from non-biotech crops. The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world. Reminder: No food is 100 percent safe. Contamination and spoilage remain the real safety issues.

15 15 Should we label? Should the method of food production require labeling? Would labeling help consumers make an informed choice about the safety or nutritional value of their foods?

16 16 Labeling Biotech foods are not presently labeled in the U.S. They have been judged to have the same nutritional content as similar non-biotech foods. Some products, such as oils derived from biotech crop(s), are identical to those from non-biotech crops. Future biotech products are expected to have improved nutritional value and will be labeled to that effect.

17 17 Labeling FDA accepts the terms derived through biotechnology and bioengineered. FDA does not accept the terms GM free, GMO, or modified for labeling U.S. food labels reflect composition and safety, not the way the food is produced. Foods certified to be biotech-free would cost more because the product would have to be tracked from field to market. The fundamental question is whether labeling would help the consumer make an informed choice about the safety or nutritional value of foods.

18 18 Food choices Products certified as organic do not come from biotech crops. They are not necessarily safer to eat and were not necessarily grown in a safer manner. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering voluntary labeling standards for manufacturers.

19 19 Public involvement We need to produce a safe, sufficient food supply. We need to grow food in an environmentally responsible fashion. We must maintain factual and open public discourse on the impact of biotechnology on the world. Research conducted at land grant universities is critical to the evaluation process. We must define the role agricultural biotechnology will play in society.

20 20 CA&ES Deans Office University of California One Shields Avenue Davis, CA Information Judith A. Kjelstrom, Ph.D., Associate Director UC Davis Biotechnology Program (530) ; This brochure is brought to you by a group of U.S. agricultural schools, known as state or land grant colleges and universities. Our goal is to make information on agricultural biotechnology available to the public and to participate in the dialogue about the benefits and risks of this new technology, which fast is becoming a part of our everyday lives. As teaching, research and extension institutions, we are convinced that some products developed through biotechnology can provide benefits to our food system and the environment. Furthermore, we believe that the risks and benefits of any technology, including biotechnology, should be evaluated through research. Virginia De La Torre Graphic Design Student Assistant

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