2 What are the issues? Biotechnology vs. traditional breeding methods Food safetyEnvironmentSocial
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 Why biotechnologyThroughout 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 What is genetic engineering? It involves cutting and moving snippets of DNA (genes for specific desirable traits) from one plant, animal or microbe to another.Unlike traditional crossbreeding techniques, only one or a few genes are introduced into the host species. Therefore, unwanted traits usually are avoided.
6 When? Why? Who?Cheese was the first food product of biotechnology. The enzyme Chymosin (bioengineered rennin) appeared on the market in 1990.By 1995, other crops were developed to delay ripening or reduce crop damage by weeds, diseases and insects.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.
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 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 Other products Vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements Medicines: virtually all insulin is biotechDetergentsTextilesPulp and paperLeatherMetalsFuels
10 Potential benefits and goals Safer food supply for consumersLess impact on the environmentLess expensive food productionCrops less vulnerable to insects, diseases and weedsCrops with higher/greater nutritional contentCrops used for new materials and energy sourcesCrops developed as production vehicles for medicines and vaccines to prevent disease
11 Potential risks being evaluated Farmworker and consumer safetyEnvironmental effects on plants, animals and water systemsGenes moving from genetically engineered crops into wild plantsPests eventually developing resistance to pest-resistant cropsIntroduction of allergy-causing compounds into foods
12 Environmental impactTraditional 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 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 eatU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Determines if it is safe for the environmentU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)Determines if it is safe to grow
14 Safety evidenceAll 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 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 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 LabelingFDA accepts the terms “derived through biotechnology” and “bioengineered.”FDA does not accept the terms “GM free,” “GMO,” or “modified” for labelingU.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 Food choicesProducts 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 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 This brochure is brought to you by a group of U. S 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.CA&ES Dean’s OfficeUniversity of CaliforniaOne Shields AvenueDavis, CA 95616InformationJudith A. Kjelstrom, Ph.D., Associate DirectorUC Davis Biotechnology Program(530) ;Virginia De La TorreGraphic Design Student Assistant
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