Skip to main content

In GMO debate, U of M researcher says both sides overstate their case

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Tuesday vote by residents in the state of Washington has trained a spotlight on the issue of whether to label genetically modified foods. And while the referendum has turned up the volume of the arguments, a University of Minnesota scholar says both the fears and the promised benefits in the GMO debate have been overblown.

A Washington Post blog takes an in-depth look at Washington's Initiative 522, which would require food stores to label genetically modified foods. After looking at the issue from several angles, the piece concludes with a comment from the U of M's Jonathan Foley, who told the Post that both sides have oversold their arguments and that what's really needed is more public education and research.

Foley, who directs the university's Institute on the Environment, has studied how the world can feed its growing population without damaging the planet. A 2011 article of his in Scientific American proposed a five-step plan for doubling global food production by 2050 while inhibiting climate change.

The debate over Washington's ballot initiative is most likely not the type of public education Foley has in mind. Politico reports residents are looking forward to relief from the steady stream of television ads that demonize or extol the measure.

The Seattle Times reports that if Washington votes in favor of labeling genetically modified food, it will likely revive the issue in the other Washington.

The Washington Post story says there are also 20 states with some form of genetically modified labeling requirement on the table.

Next Up


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.