Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Modified Corn a Step Closer to Approval in Europe

Castle, Stephen. "Modified Corn a Step Closer to Approval in Europe." New York Times, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <>.

In Europe a controversy is occurring, to use or not to use genetically modified corn. This new breed of corn is insect – resistant and still has the same nutrition as regular, non – genetically modified corn, and is currently being approved by the European Union.
            Some people that oppose the use and production of genetically modified corn failed to gain support to stop the authorization of the European Union’s voting system. Yet Tonio Borg, the European health commissioner, is pushing for a mechanism that would allow individual states to ban the growing of biotech crops, but would permit the sale of authorized products throughout the Union.
            Supporters of genetically modified crops argue that they offer an unequal opportunity to increase yields, but opponents say they pose unknown health and environmental risks.
            The modified corn, called Pioneer 1507, is designed to improve yields by resisting pests and is used mostly for animal feed and had been developed jointly by DuPont Pioneer and Dow Chemical. “DuPont Pioneer said in a statement that its product ‘should be approved for cultivation without further delay,’ adding that the bloc has ‘a legal obligation to itself, to its farmers and scientists and to its trade partners.’ ”
            While the development and cultivation of biotech crops have been embraced by countries like the United States, India and China, Europeans tend to be highly suspicious. Last month, the European Parliament passed a resolution against the approval of Pioneer 1507, and during Tuesday’s debate, ministers from at least 18 nations spoke out against the authorization.
This article is relevant because most of the people in Europe have not been in contact with genetically modified foods, so there is a big controversy, for now most of the people in Europe don’t want or are neutral about the idea of genetically modified foods, in which political leaders are integrating into the market fairly slowly.

I enjoyed reading this article because it shows both sides of the argument about genetically modified foods in Europe in our present day. Even if the genetically modified corn is only being fed to livestock, I feel that it could be very dangerous for people and the environment, other people may have different opinions, which sparked this controversy in Europe in these past few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting controversy! It is interesting to note the cultural differences between the US and Europe in our approach to GMO. In the US, the majority of our supermarket food is made from GMO crops, with virtually all corn being genetically modified. In Europe there is a strong cultural distrust of "biotech" food, and it is very tightly regulated and controlled. Very few GMO foods are in the European market, and those that are, are legally required to be labeled as GMO, unlike in American grocery stores.

    My biggest problem with this article is that it is from the "International Business" section of the NY Times, and it has more to do with politics and business than science. There is little discussion of the actual science behind the safety of GMO crops, and I would like to see more said about why they are considered potentially unsafe for human consumption and for the environment. Very little science was actually cited in this article. Next time I suggest sticking to the "Science" section of the NY Times for articles that will have more scientific rigor.

    Excellent and detailed summary though! And this is a very relevant topic.