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Marketing Mistrust in the Safest Food Supply in Human History

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This was the presentation given at the Trottier Symposium in Montreal, Canada, September 27, 2015. The session was "A Question of Evidence" and discussed major scientific topics of public controversy.

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Marketing Mistrust in the Safest Food Supply in Human History

  1. 1. Marketing Mistrust in the Safest Food Supply in Human History Kevin M. Folta Professor and Chairman Horticultural Sciences Department kfolta.blogspot.com @kevinfolta kevinfolta@gmail.com www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com
  2. 2. Research Use of light to increase fruit quality USDA $500,000 Past funding for work in photomorphogenesis, plant photoreceptors and light – USDA $500,000, NSF $1,065,000, NIH - $100,000; Light Emitting Computers $5000. Past funding for work in strawberry genomics, strawberry flavors, disease resistance, USDA $470,000, NSF $1,550,000, FDACS - $550,000, FSREF - $310,000, UF Plant Molecular Breeding Program - $180,000, JR Simplot Co - $135,000; Driscoll’s $10,000; Roche/454 $10,000, Graduate students supported by CAPES (Brazil); Malaysian Government, Chinese Scholarship Fund (2); Islamic Development Fund, Belgian Graduate Student Development Fund. Internal grants: $145,000 Dean for Research toward strawberry genome sequencing $40,000
  3. 3. Outreach www.talkingbiotech.com Communicating the Science of Science Communication National Science Foundation - $32,000 Modules for schools- Citrus greening disease, crop domestication, plants and light Modules for extension agents – how to teach about citrus disease, talking about biotechnology Monsanto Co, $25000
  4. 4. 43 Scientists get FOIA requests – Funded by Organic Consumers Association I turned over 4600 pages
  5. 5. Numberoffundedtravels Year Monsanto and its industry partners have also passed out an undisclosed amount in special grants to scientists like Kevin Folta, the chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida, to help with “biotechnology outreach” and to travel around the country to defend genetically modified foods. “While Dr. Folta was not personally compensated, Monsanto paid for his trips to testify in Pennsylvania and Hawaii.” Dr. Folta, the emails show, soon became part of an inner circle of industry consultants, lobbyists and executives who devised strategy on how to block state efforts to mandate G.M.O. labeling and, most recently, on how to get Congress to pass legislation that would pre-empt any state from taking such a step. ERIC LIPTON New York Times, 9/5/15 Every outreach written piece, seminar, lecture, etc, all costs reimbursed Kfolta.blogspot.com 9/19/2015
  6. 6. Phone threats, FBI domestic terrorism task force notified, Hacking Impersonation Doxxing
  7. 7. Outreach www.talkingbiotech.com Communicating the Science of Science Communication National Science Foundation - $32,000 Modules for schools- Citrus greening disease, crop domestication, plants and light Modules for extension agents- how to discuss citrus disease and biotechnology Monsanto Co, $25000
  8. 8. October 29th
  9. 9. Let’s Get StartedLet’s Get Started
  10. 10. General Audience Ranking Food Safety Food cost Environment Industrialized World Consumers
  11. 11. Cornell Alliance for Science Fellows Farmers Developing World The Needy Food Safety Environment Industrialized World Consumers
  12. 12. Kevin Folta Farmers Developing World The Needy Food Safety Environment Industrialized World Consumers Animal Welfare
  13. 13. We have a wonderful situation Our food supply in the USA has never been more diverse, safe and plentiful. Food costs, as a function of annual income, have never been lower. The fact that 99% of the country does not have to produce food, means there’s plenty of time for other innovations, leisure, etc.
  14. 14. A Few Central Core Concepts Humans have always participated in plant and animal genetic improvement. Transgenic technology (familiar “GMO”) is a precise extension of conventional plant breeding. “The techniques used pose no more risk (actually less risk) than conventional breeding.” (NAS, AAAS, AMA, EFSA many others) In 18 years of use in plants, there has not been one case of illness or death related to these products. No approved animals. In the USA there are several traits used in only 10 (- +) commercial crops
  15. 15. Free Time + Internet Connection = Instant Experts! Never before in history have humans enjoyed such immediate access to bad information.
  16. 16. Here’s How We Fix It Plant Genetic Improvement- how we do it. Where do your crops come from? How do the current traits work? What are our missed opportunities? How do we go forward?
  17. 17. What Plant Genetic Improvement Is More varieties Grow better under given conditions Improved yields Safer products Improved nutrtion
  18. 18. What Plant Genetic Improvement Is People t hink Improved yields
  19. 19. What Animal Genetic Improvement Is
  20. 20. Humans have always manipulated crop genetics
  21. 21. All existing crops and animals have been radically reshaped by humans, to enhance performance that has aided the human condition.
  22. 22. How Do We Add a Gene to a Plant?
  23. 23. How Do We Add a Gene to a Plant? Agrobacterium tumefaciens
  24. 24. GM Crops Available Now 10 potato apple
  25. 25. What are the Three Main Traits? Virus Resistance Insect Resistance Herbicide Resistance
  26. 26. Virus Resistance Benefits Utilizes an innate plant response Uses sequences of the virus Cuts need for insecticides (that decrease insect numbers that spread virus) Limitations/Considerations Pollen containment
  27. 27. Advantages Decrease in broad-spectrum insecticide use on corn and cotton Lower fuel and labor costs for farmers Solid dividends in the developing world No effect on beneficials Limitations Need to plant refugia to slow resistance Pockets of resistance are seen and require use of insecticides Requires careful scouting
  28. 28. Glyphosate-Resistant (Roundup Ready) Products A gene is inserted that allows plants to survive in the presence of the herbicide. Farmers can spray to kill non-transgenic plants.
  29. 29. How Herbicide Resistance Works A B C Amino acids proteins epsps glyphosate X Plants
  30. 30. How Herbicide Resistance Works A B C Amino acids proteins epsps glyphosate X A B C Amino acids proteins epsps Plants Bacteria glyphosate
  31. 31. How Herbicide Resistance Works A B C Amino acids proteins epsps epsps Plants X glyphosate A B C Amino acids proteins Bacteria glyphosate
  32. 32. How Herbicide Resistance Works A B C Amino acids proteins epsps Plants glyphosate Resistance!
  33. 33. Advantages Switch to a low-toxicity herbicide, cheap and effective Lower fuel and labor costs for farmers Decreased tilling, saved topsoil Limitations Weeds can evolve resistance, requiring increased labor, lower yields, and new control strategies. New chemistries.
  34. 34. What is Glyphosate? Non-selective herbicide. Kills all plants. Pathway not present in animals Acute toxicity is low (4320 -10,000 mg/kg)
  35. 35. Who’s technology is this? Technology exists TODAY that can: -Provide needed micronutrients to hungry populations -Add virus resistance to key crops in the developing world -Help plants grow in changing climates and weather extremes, such as heat, drought, flooding, cold. -Plants that protect themselves from pests, cutting need for insecticides -Why don’t we use them? Success Stories (We Can’t Use)
  36. 36. Papaya Ringspot Virus Good example of RNAi suppression
  37. 37. Golden Rice X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy Opposition to golden rice cost $2 billion to farmers in developing countries and 1.4 million human years – Wesseler et al., 2014
  38. 38. Cassava Virus Resistant Cassava (VIRCA) Biocassava Plus (BC Plus) 250 million depend on cassava 50 million tons lost to virus. X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy
  39. 39. Golden Bananas Beta carotene producing X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy
  40. 40. Bacterial Wilt in Bananas >70% of carbohydrate calories for some areas GM trials in Uganda X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X
  41. 41. Over expression of rice Xa21 gene Tripathi et al, 2014
  42. 42. Overexpression of Ferredoxin like protein
  43. 43. Allergy-Free Peanuts Peanut – RNAi suppression Ara h2 X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy
  44. 44. GE chickens do not pass on Avian Influenza Episode 007 X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X X X X Animal welfare
  45. 45. AquaBounty Salmon – attains market weight in less time. Salmon may be farmed on inland pools, generating high protein food on fewer inputs. Episode 008 X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X X X X Wild populations
  46. 46. Thanks Alison Van Eenennaam for the slide! Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X
  47. 47. Low Acrylamide, non Browning Potatoes X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy
  48. 48. Non Browning Apples Silencing a gene that leads to discoloration X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy Small Business!X
  49. 49. BS2 Tomato A pepper gene in tomato eases bacterial wilt. X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy
  50. 50. Grapes resistant to Pierce’s Disease X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X
  51. 51. One acre of omega-3 producing soybeans yields as much oil as 10,000 fish!
  52. 52. Stopping Citrus Greening Spinach defensin NPR1 Lytic peptides Many show promise Earliest deregulation is 2019 X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X X
  53. 53. X X Farmers Consumers Environment Needy X Fungicide-Free Strawberries? Silva et al., 2015
  54. 54. Why?Why? Who is blocking solutions?Who is blocking solutions?
  55. 55. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions? Lots of money to be made promoting bad science Anti corporate agenda “These people hate corporations more than they love people” -Hank Campbell, Science 2.0 Expensive regulation that only favors giant corporations
  56. 56. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions? Bad science, low quality reports and misinformation dominate the internet and public discourse. Reports that are not repeated, deeply flawed, or have no consistency with scientific consensus.
  57. 57. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?
  58. 58. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?
  59. 59. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions? Based on a computer program prediction. Authors chose not to actually measure the compound. I’m going to do this, have invited their participation.
  60. 60. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions? Based on Aris and LeBlanc, 2011
  61. 61. Why Don’t We Use These Solutions?Why Don’t We Use These Solutions? Big profits to be made from science denial Companies use greenwashing to differentiate products claiming some qualitative difference Companies like Chipotle fail to mention inconvenient facts: -Soda still contains HFCS from GE corn ($$$) -Cheese uses a GE enzyme in production -The switch from oil derived from GE soy to non-GE sunflower changes to a crop with substantially higher pesticide/herbicide inputs.
  62. 62. The solution is communication. Scientists, Farmers, Physicians have been bad at the communication side
  63. 63. F Relativenumberinpopulation Nonexperts Farmers, scientists, Etc. MOST PEOPLE!!!! FEAR FACTS Favorable views of genetic engineering
  64. 64. Avoid these Mistakes Avoid “feed the world” rhetoric– Provide specifics. Always discuss strengths and limitations Don’t ever claim it is a single solution– it is not. Embrace integration around other production methods.
  65. 65. Farmers taking action. Jennie Schmidt @FarmGirlJen Brian Scott www.thefarmerslife.com @thefarmerslife Sarah Schultz – Nurse Loves Farmer @NurseLovesFarmr Amanda @farmdaughterusa
  66. 66. #farm365 AMPLIFICATION
  67. 67. Conclusions
  68. 68. I work for you. kfolta.blogspot.com @kevinfolta kfolta@ufl.edu "There is a path to truth and sincerity that you must guard and defend“ -- Teruyuki Okazaki “It is our mission to stand up for the truth that science gives us.” Dr. Jack Payne Follow FOIA developments using #Science14 www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com iTunes, Stitcher, Player FM Sponsors: Research: USDA Outreach: www.talkingbiotech.com Today’s talk – Trottier symposium
  69. 69. “Don’t tell me it can’t be done, tell me what needs to be done and help me do it.”

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