Tiffin 2010 – A Review and Outlook for Genetically Modified Crops and Food

soybean research

Emotion is a powerful thing.  Many people make decisions based on emotion and not science.  There is some irony in all of this based on our scientific knowledge has never been higher.  We know more about the genome of plants than ever before in our history.  Yet at the same time emotions are high and science is trying to win a war versus emotional scientific illiteracy.   We are living a very strange time in regards to emotion versus science.  Our regulatory system is becoming larger to make sure we test everything for human safety.  Yet when something is proven to be safe scientifically we still rely on our emotions or a celebrity in some cases to guide our decisions making.

I talked to Dr. Joe Schwarcz from McGill University at the Tiffin Conference what he thinks about the future of genetically modified food and what role science plays in dealing with people’s emotional decisions.

Genetically modified plants and food are the flagship of emotional decision making.  GM traits are the most highly regulated and tested research in North America.  This is actually one of the reasons that smaller companies have trouble competing in the development of GM traits.  The regulatory costs are substantial and continue to increase.

How do you make decisions in your house with food.  Do you think are food system is safe?  Do wish there was more labelling of products in the grocery store?  Would it make a difference to you in the grocery store if genetically modified ingredients were labelled?


Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney


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One Comment

Dennis Laughton P.Ag

I recently read a letter to the editor in the Calgary Herald where a person writing about GMO food said”I will never eat food that is full of genetically modified organisms”
After my initiall reaction, I realized that we have a long way to go informing the general public the nature of this powerful tool.
Joe Schwarcz is right, curebtly there are no obvious benefits that the consumer can see.


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