Supermarket shelves in the United States would soon be featuring the next generation of biotech food. An Associated Press report, for example, revealed the advent of granola bars made with genetically tweaked soybean oil that is heart-healthy. Foods from plants or animals that had their DNA “edited” are expected to begin selling by early next year. “Gene editing” is a different technology than the so-called genetically modified foods. It is “more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth and make farm animals hardier, and fruits and vegetables last longer.”
Farmers, Department of Agriculture (DA) information officers, regulators, members of the academe, and members and officials of local government units of selected municipalities in Region X were enlightened about the science, food and environmental safety, biotech products in the pipeline, socioeconomic benefits of Bt eggplant, and the biosafety regulatory guidelines in the country during the Biotechnology 101 & Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing held on October 3, 2017 at The Mallberry Suites Business Hotel, Cagayan De Oro City.
During the open forum, participants clarified and asked about the safety of Bt technology particularly its effects in the environment, labelling, regulatory costs, availability of Bt eggplant seeds, and the status of the Golden Rice project among others. Present during the open forum were the representatives from the five concerned departments of the JDC — the Departments of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Health, Environment and Natural Resources, and the Interior and Local Government.
The activity was organized by ISAAA, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC), DA-Biotechnology Program Office, and DA-Regional Field Office X.
Resource persons from UP Los Baños and representatives from the five Departments answer questions from pariticpants during the open forum.