Genetic Modification:
Process, not Product

I believe we need to keep in mind that not all genetically modified products are the same. The procedures used to produce them are a separate issue from the products themselves. Whatever someone’s beliefs are regarding genetic modifications, those concerns should be separated from concerns over whether a food source is safe or not. Rather a food source is derived from GMO or not does not inherently make it good or evil. The proof of the pudding here, is in the eating, so to speak. Continue reading “Genetic Modification:
Process, not Product”

Monsanto Opts Out
of Australia’s Intergrain

Intergrain chief executive Tress Walmsley in the glass houses with noodle wheat. Picture: Danella Bevis/The Countryman.
Intergrain chief executive Tress Walmsley in the glass houses with noodle wheat. Picture: Danella Bevis/The Countryman.

In a story in The West Australian, it’s reported that Monsanto has sold its shares in Australian GMO wheat (Intergrain) to the Australian government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Continue reading “Monsanto Opts Out
of Australia’s Intergrain”

Vanilla Shortage?

By Augustine Fou from New York, USA (VanillaOrchidUploaded by Orchi) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AVanilla_spec._-_Flickr_003.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
By Augustine Fou from New York, USA (VanillaOrchidUploaded by Orchi) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Now that food manufacturers (in this case specifically Nestle) are pledging to use natural ingredients, there appears to be a huge shortage of vanilla. The amount of natural vanilla from vanilla beans available worldwide will only supply a small fraction of the demand. See this Chemical and Engineering News article regarding all the options that are available to food producers. Most of the options (other than synthesizing from petrochemicals) are very expensive. At the heart of the matter is the question: “What constitutes natural?”. Continue reading “Vanilla Shortage?”

Desi Seeds
Compete with Monsanto

Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.

In this IndiaTimes article, Madhvi Sally reports that India is preparing to release an indigenous GM cotton. The new variety reportedly does not infringe on Monsanto’s intellectual property rights and should produce a better yield than that previously used. The key genetic trait is the time it takes from planting to harvest. This strain reduces that time by about a third, reducing the chance for pests to ruin the crop (late season pink bollworm infestation).