Crops and chemicals: What does the future hold for GMOs and pesticides?

| | October 6, 2017

[Editor's note: The following is a Q&A with Paul Vincelli, a plant pathology professor at the University of Kentucky.]

Farmers are using more chemicals on crops. True or False?

Total pesticide use by farmers in the USA has gone up somewhat in certain crops, and down in others.  Overall, however, pesticide use has been relatively stable over a period of several decades. So, I think we can say this statement is false.

We can definitely say that insecticide use has gone down. Part of the reason is crops that have been genetically modified to resist insects.

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Should we be concerned about pesticide residues in our food?

Our regulatory system does an excellent job of protecting our health. I’m not going to tell the moms and dads of America what they should or should not be afraid of, but pesticide residue in food is way down on my list of concerns. Exposure to pesticides in the diet is commonly thousands of times below regulatory permissible amounts.

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What does the future hold for pesticide use?

I’ve worked with pesticides for 34 years. I’m telling you we can do a lot to reduce the use of pesticides with genetic engineering. Although the acronym GMO sometimes frightens consumers, in fact, genetic engineering holds tremendous promise for reducing pesticide use.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Are Farmers Using More Pesticides?

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