retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post had a terrific story over the weekend about new advances in the field of gene editing of farm, animals and the impact on the nation’s food supply.

An excerpt:

“As scientists in labs across the world create virus-resistant pigs, heat-tolerant cattle and fatter, more muscular lambs, a big question looms: Will regulation, safety concerns and public skepticism prevent these advances from becoming anything more than fascinating laboratory experiments, or will the animals transform agriculture and the food supply? So far, gene-editing tools have jump-started research worldwide, creating more than 300 pigs, cattle, sheep and goats. Now, proponents of the field say the United States is at a make-or-break moment, when government action over the next year could determine whether any gene-edited food animals make it to market.”

The Post goes on:

“Gene-edited plants will soon be in the grocery store, but similar tinkering with the DNA of animals faces a far more uncertain future. The regulatory process for getting animals approved is more complex and treats the edited DNA as a veterinary drug — a difference that animal scientists argue will effectively kill their field by preventing innovations that could make raising livestock more sustainable, more efficient or more humane. Many advocates and ethicists agree that the current oversight system is a poor fit but think that scientists and industry underestimate potential safety concerns.”

You can read the entire, thought-provoking story here.
KC's View:
I’ve always been agnostic on the subject of GMOs and gene-editing; I try to avoid knee-jerk reactions, I’m willing to be persuaded, but I think the pro-GMO forces haven’t done a very good job of educating the public. Plus, at a time when so many of us are trying to eat better/cleaner, eating products made with GMOs kind of runs contrary to the prevailing trends.

I’m not sure this Post story is going to help the gene-editing case, though - there’s just so much that I find unsettling. I can feel my knees jerking a bit, though … and I also worry that the framework for the discussion is all wrong.