Not a good one, according to Dr Bruce Chassy, Professor Emeritus of Food Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who caught up with FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show to talk about GMO labeling.
“Consumers interpret a label as a health warning”, he said, although he predicted that "this matter will ultimately be decided in the courts”.
Conventional breeding is probably riskier as it’s black box stuff… GM techniques are far more precise
Speaking at a session on genetic engineering earlier that day, Dr Chassy reminded the audience that there is nothing ‘natural’ about conventional (non-GM) animal or plant breeding, which uses techniques from inducing mutations in the DNA of the crop via x-rays, to chemical mutagenesis.
Meanwhile, thanks to advanced breeding techniques, the kinds of plants and animals we eat today are nothing like what our ancestors were eating, he pointed out. “We’ve been fiddling with animals and crops for years.”
I don’t even think that the phrase ‘genetically modified’ is really appropriate
He added: “I don’t even think that the phrase ‘genetically modified’ is really appropriate since none of the animals and plants we eat today [produced using ‘conventional’ or non-GM agricultural techniques] exist in nature, they have all been extensively genetically modified.
"So it’s foolishness to talk about bio-engineered crops as ‘GM foods’.”
Indeed, “conventional breeding is probably riskier as it’s black box stuff”, he said, while GM techniques are “far more precise”.
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