Monday, February 7, 2011

Union's Winter Environmental Speaker Series!

Do you know about Union’s Environmental Science, Policy and Engineering Winter 2011 Seminar Series?

Come hear the speakers as they discuss “Inside the Controversy on Genetically Modified Food”!

Last week we heard from Jeffrey Smith, leading non-GMO consumer advocate and author of "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette". 

Jeffrey Smith
January 20, 2011
Seminar Topic: "The Dirty Secrets Behind the Genetically Modified Foods You’re Eating"

 Didn't catch the last one? Here's a summary of the talk written by Shabana Hoosein, '11.

            Jeffery Smith is the writer of two books ("Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette") and a worldwide speaker on genetically modified foods. He came to Union to discuss the myths behind the FDA-approved technologies and the controversies behind it. He started his talk off by asking the audience about their knowledge of GMOs. He then continued to explain the statistics behind the food we eat. The statistics aimed to portray the impact of GM foods on health in the US. Smith made a striking comparison between the American and European regulations. One of his many points showed that food companies (such as Kraft) make GM products in America, but not in Europe. Companies like Kraft, have the ability to make non-GM foods in Europe, however, they choose to sell GM products in America.
Smith showed pictures as scientific evidence to express the impact of GM foods on various human body organs. He also described the scientific studies done on laboratory mice and their fatalities due to GM consumption. He relates his talk on GM crops to bovine growth hormone in milk. It seemed that the audience was aware of the bovine growth hormone concept. However, he explained that in 1992, the FDA approved of bovine growth hormone (just like they approve GM crops now).  Smith also explains the controversies behind Bt toxins in GMOs. I was surprised to know that Bt toxins are used in organic farming because it is species specific and biodegrades despite its negative effect on consumers. Towards the end of his talk, he conveyed the politics behind his books. Smith described the difficulties of reaching out to politicians, which lead him to write his second book. His second book discussed genetic differences in GM foods.
-Shabana Hoosein, '11

Missed last week's talk? Want to catch the next one?

The series continues this week!

  • On Wednesday, Feb. 2 check out “Global Rifts over Biotechnology: Science, Politics and Political Science” with Ronald Herring of Cornell University

  • On Wednesday, Feb. 16 come see “Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals: Answers to Questions They Don’t Want Asked (Science, Regulation, Environmental and Human Health Impacts)” with Michael Hansen of Consumer Union

  • Come Tuesday, Feb. 22 to hear “Environmental Considerations in the Use of Transgenic Crops” with Dr. Janice Thies (Cornell University)

All talks start at 7 p.m. in the Nott. 

See you there!

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