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Wisconsin Experts Tackle Topic of GMOs in Food

Whether they're for or against GMOs, most people want to know if their food contains any genetically modified organisms. (Pacific Press/Getty Images)
Whether they're for or against GMOs, most people want to know if their food contains any genetically modified organisms. (Pacific Press/Getty Images)
July 17, 2017

MADISON, Wis. – There is as much passion as there is confusion in Wisconsin about GMOs – genetically modified organisms – particularly with the University of Wisconsin working on the cutting edge of GMO research and the huge role of agriculture in the state's economy.

To address some of the issues, the Aspen Institute is sponsoring a panel discussion with seven experts of varying backgrounds. The panel will be well balanced, says one of the panelists, Margaret Krome, policy director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.

"I think we have people from a lot of different perspectives, and they're thoughtful people with useful information, and I look forward to the panel,” she states. “I think that it's going to be a productive conversation of the kind that we, in a democratic society, need to be encouraging."

Krome maintains there is a gap in both civic and scientific literacy regarding GMOs, and she believes addressing both together is important to improving the public dialogue about GMOs.

Krome points out that farmers, the business community and the public all have a stake in this debate. She says one reason for the controversy around genetically modified crops is that different people have different information about topics such as herbicide use with GMOs.

"Different groups will say, 'Well this study has shown this,' and others will say, 'Well that study has shown that,'” she explains. “And I think it is important that we try to put it out on the table.

“We have a lot of parties with a lot of interests at stake, and being respectful of those concerns is really an important part of the dialogue."

Krome maintains the discussion about GMOs needs to move past broad pro or con statements, and that means finding out more about them.

"I think many people feel that the technology is very important for many farmers,” she states. “Their options are limited by what they perceive as an insufficient debate. And I think many consumers feel that the precautionary principle has not always been observed."

The panel discussion starts at noon on Monday, July 24, at the Discovery Building on the UW Madison campus. For more information or to sign up to attend, look online at Michael Fields website.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI