Gene editing in agriculture: Disclosure, communication and transparency critical to public acceptance

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Image credit: Farm Week Now

Communication is critical around the topic of gene-editing, an emerging technology that involves making precise changes in the genetic material of plants and animals used in food production to improve food safety, reduce food waste and use less water, land and other resources.

“Consumers are going to ask, ‘Is this safe?’ And how is that question going to be answered?” said Greg Jaffe, director of biotechnology for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, speaking during a panel discussion at Future Food-Tech. “Everyone in the food chain from the farmer all the way up to the consumer and all of the businesses in between need to know that a gene-edited crop or animal is out there in the food supply. I’m not necessarily talking about labeling or disclosure under the recent bioengineered disclosure law, but I do think … if something’s hidden from consumers, consumers ask why. ‘Why is this being hidden from me?’”

[Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Costco Wholesale] described an important distinction between gene-editing and genetic engineering.

“We’re not transferring material genome to genome or organism to organism; we’re essentially turning switches on and off,” he said.

Read full, original post: Consumers ‘need to know’ when it comes to food technologies

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