GMOs: A Breakthrough or Breakdown in U.S. Agriculture?

Deciphering the debate on genetically-engineered food.

Deciphering the debate on genetically-engineered food

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Paarlberg argues that the narrative of Big Food against the consumer is backwards and cites the ideological conversion of Mark Lynas, a GMO opponent who has since apologized for his antics in a widely-publicized speech this year to the Oxford Farming Conference. "The David and Goliath imagery of powerful companies running roughshod over consumers' preferences is, in this case, incorrect," Paarlberg says. "It's been a powerful anti-GMO campaign that has actually driven GMO foods—not feeds, not fuel, not fiber—but GMO foods largely out of the marketplace."

But according to Faber, genetically-engineered whole foods, such as sweet corn and apples, are entering the market for the first time. And that will only further the consumer trend to know more about their foods. "Until now, these ingredients have been out of sight, out of mind. Now they're going to be in your hand, on the edge of your fork," Faber says. "People have discovered that what we put in our bodies has an enormous impact on our health and the environment around us," and that sensibility along with "our ability to get information at the click of a mouse has combined to create a sense that we're entitled to know more and more about how our food was made."

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