View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

Cows - India food security

News roundup: April 2017

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The best piece of advice I heard this month came from Professor Jessica Fanzo. Her tip for anyone concerned about corporate control of the food system was to give up fizzy drinks. These are generally produced by some of the largest companies who promote very unhealthy products. You can watch the video of her thoughts on this any many other food topics.

And in the headlines we have: 

Made using the genome editing technique CRISPR, these tomatoes don’t need bees to pollinate them. This is one way to ensure food security in a time of pollinator declines, and no doubt it will be a controversial one.

Geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam examines the organic retailer’s claims that slow-growing chickens are ‘better’ than newer fast-growing breeds. She gives an interesting insight into the effect of genetic improvements on farmed chickens.

Sustainable food systems will require changes in consumer behaviour. Tim Lang, whose research focusses on policy aspects of sustainable aspects of sustainable diets, discusses whether researchers can do more good by reaching politicians or the wider public.

Sometimes nutritional guidelines are at odds with sustainability, whereas in other situations the messages are closely aligned (too much red meat is bad for both health and the environment for example). This interesting analysis summarises Sweden’s advice and looks at the criticism, particularly from the dairy industry.

In 2015, 97% of food samples collected across the EU were within legal limits for pesticide residues, with just over 53% free of quantifiable residues. The samples were analysed by the European Food Standards Authority, who also found that 99.3% of organic samples were residue-free or within legal limits.

Another one from me. Enjoy!

Author: Rebecca Nesbit

I am author of a popular science book 'Is that Fish in your Tomato?' exploring the fact and fiction of GM crops. In my work and leisure so far, I have trained bees to detect explosives, used a radar to study butterflies for my PhD, written a novel, taken the train from London to China, organised Biology Week, sold science jewellery on Etsy, and traveled to four continents with Nobel Laureates. Best off all, I've made lots of friends whose support I very much appreciate. Thank you! Please visit my website:

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