health | June 05, 2013

The Wheat Came Back: Laurie Garrett On Genetically Modified Crops

The media is abuzz with the news of an Oregon farmer who found a strand of genetically engineered wheat growing among his crops. Health speaker Laurie Garrett stopped by The Colbert Report this week to discuss the implications of this strange strand of Monsanto wheat. The crop was never approved for commercial use, is resilient to the chemical herbicide Roundup, seems to reproduce on its own, and hasn't been grown by the company since 2005. It is a mystery how the crop appeared at all, let alone its origin.

Some international purchasers have vocalized concern over what they feel is tainted grain—suspending some of their imports in the process. Garrett, however, says that there doesn't seem to be any risk to human health if this particular strain is consumed. However, some farmers in The U.S. are suing Monsanto over the issue, saying that this could hurt their profits if countries overseas refuse to purchase the grain. Something called the Farmer's Assurance Provision (a paragraph listed in Missouri's budget resolution, the location of Monsanto's headquarters) may absolve Monsanto of any legal ramifications, though. Garrett notes that the provision "makes it impossible to sue [over] genetically modified crop issues."  

Garrett is a Pulitzer, Polk, and Peabody award-winning journalist. She is currently the Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a trusted voice on pressing health issues. A prominent investigative journalist with a keen eye on international relations and health, in her talks and media appearances Garrett presents a sweeping inquiry into our global healthcare system. She addresses the issues at the forefront of public discourse—providing audiences with key takeaways on what the future holds and how to prepare for it.

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