Genetic engineering

Chikungunya is the latest virus you probably have never heard of. Carried by a couple of species of mosquito (both of which are found in the United States) and first described in Africa in 1952, the virus causes an abrupt onset of fever and severe joint pain (arthralgia) that may become chronic. Since that time, chikungunya has been found to be widespread in both Africa and Asia, and has now spread to the Caribbean islands and a few states in the U.S.
Malaria is one of the worst medical scourges in the world today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were about 207 million cases worldwide in 2012, and the disease was responsible for over 600,000 deaths mostly in children under 5 years old.
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) recently introduced a bill that would preempt any efforts by state legislatures to require manufacturers to label the presence of genetically-engineered ingredients in their products. His bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (SAFLA), would give this responsibility to the FDA instead.
Ever since the first genetically-engineered (GMO) crop was introduced in 1996, nay-sayers and fear-mongers have busied themselves trying to convince the public that foods produced by such means are, if not deadly, at least bound to have negative health effects. Even though no science supports their position, these folks have forged ahead, and unfortunately have made some headway.
David P. Ropeik, Director of Communications for Harvard s Center for Risk Analysis, has produced a hard-hitting essay in Scientific American that skewers anti-GMO activists such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for their stance.
In November 2012 Californians went to the polls and defeated a bill (Proposition 37) that would have mandated labeling of GE food or food that contained ingredients produced using genetic engineering technology. Now, not satisfied with that rather clear outcome, a new bill SB 1381 has been introduced by state senator Noreen Evans.
Sad tale of a failed struggle to educate lawmakers on the Big Island of Hawaii as to the facts of genetically-engineered agricultural products, vs. their superstitions and public concern. The result: an inane and harmful ban of GMO crop cultivation there.
On Thanksgiving day the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology announced retraction of a study by Gilles-Eric Seralini and colleagues that has had scientists up in arms.
Why wouldn t consumers want to embrace a technology that could: Reduce the use of pesticides on crops; provide crops resistant to drought and high salinity in soil; enhance the nutritional value of foods; improve disease resistance in crops; prevent expansion of agriculture into marginal lands; allow the use of soil-conserving methods; and reduce the anti-nutrients in staple crops?
An independent consortium of scientists from the American Council on Science and Health has refuted unfounded claims by environmental extremists that genetically engineered foods are a threat to public health. According to Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH's director of nutrition, "The agricultural products of genetic engineering present no inherent hazards to health and will continue to bring substantial benefits to farmers, food processors, and consumers."