Since the early 1980s, the technology to select specific genetic traits from one organism and insert them into the genetic code of another organism, a process known as genetic engineering (GE) or modification (GM), has allowed scientists to create biological products that express traits that are otherwise not available in those products. When applied to agricultural commodities, this technology can offer farmers ways to improve their production.
The development of genetically engineered products has caused concern in consumers wary of the potential for inadvertent harm from consuming this enhanced food product or from introducing GM crops into the environment. The mix of messages in the media on the pros and cons of GM products has created an environment in which consumers and farmers alike have legitimate questions and concerns that need to be addressed. Farmers who are told of the advantages of GM products as a way to improve their production also face intense questioning from customers about the safety of GM crops. The need for farmers to have access to sound science and information to help them to make informed decisions about GM crops and how to respond to consumer concerns led the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and its Board of Managers to host a forum, “GMOs: Questions and Answers for New Jersey Farmers,” at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown on May 9. [Read more...]