Page 37 - RealDirtENG2017newJAN
P. 37
Better science for more sustainable food production
Growing food means using science. Plant and animal genetics, soil management, pest and disease management strategies, nutrition and animal housing, even weather forecasting: every aspect of farming has bene ted from the use of science. It’s a win for Canadians too; more nutritious, abundant, reliable and affordable food is being produced using more environmentally sustainable farming methods than ever before.
GE technology isn’t just for large corporations. Small companies, universities and other public institutions all over the world use it to develop their own unique products.
Courtesy of FFC Saskatchewan
What is biotechnology or GMO?
What is the “dirty dozen”? How do I know what fruits and vegetables are safe to eat?
Each year, a U.S. environmental group publishes a “dirty dozen list” of fruits and vegetables that it suggests avoiding because of high pesticide residue levels. Scientists at the University of California- Davis and elsewhere, however, have found this report to be deceptive and misrepresentative of the facts.67
Scienti c analysis shows that, even though residues can be present, they are at extremely low levels. A child could eat 154 apples in one day, for example, without any effect – even if those apples had the highest pesticide residues recorded by the United States Department of Agriculture.68
Thanks to sensational media headlines and clever media campaigns, terms like biotechnology, GM, GE or GMO and genetic engineering can cause alarm. But what do they really mean?
Biotechnology is an umbrella term used to describe different ways of identifying genes, introducing bene cial genes, modifying existing genes – and removing detrimental ones – in plants and animals using a range of precise tools. Vaccines, antibiotics, and other medicines have been produced using biological agents. When it comes to farming, the goal is to produce more and better food by in uencing or improving the natural biological processes in plants and animals.
Genetic Engineering (GE) is a form of biotechnology in which speci c genes are added or removed from an organism – or genes already within the organism are
turned on or off – to change its genetic makeup. The result is a genetically modi ed organism (GMO). GE technology has been used by plant scientists for decades. Nine different crops currently have GE varieties for sale on the Canadian market.66 Due to climate differences, though, not all can be produced here:
Courtesy of
Quick Fact
GMO foods are chemically identical to food grown from non-biotech crops.69
AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage Salmon (background) compared to conventional salmon sibling (foreground)
A more sustainable salmon?
The world’s  rst GE animal approved for the human food chain is a salmon that uses 20 to 25 per cent less feed than conventional farm-raised salmon, while growing twice as quickly. These properties lower its environmental footprint. The  sh, called the AquAvantage Salmon, was approved for sale in Canada in 2015, after many years of scienti c testing and review.
Courtesy of AquaBounty
The Real Dirt on Farming 37

   35   36   37   38   39