Food Fray : Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food
When famine struck Africa in 2002, several nations refused shipments of genetically modified foods, fueling a controversy that put the issue on the world's political agenda for good. In this thought-provoking exploration, esteemed molecular biologist Dr. Lisa H. Weasel brings readers into the center of this debate, capturing the real-life experiences of the scientists, farmers, policymakers, and grassroots activists on the front lines. Combining solid scientific knowledge and a gripping narrative to tell the real story behind the headlines and the hype, Food Fray approaches the topic of genetically-modified foods from an intimate, insider perspective so readers can draw their own conclusions about the validity of the opposing arguments and the safety of consuming these foods in their homes. Since the beginning, Americans have openly embraced the new genetically modified foods filling their grocery shelves while Europeans have remained much warier of these "Frankenfoods." Seminal and cutting-edge, Food Fray enlightens and informs readers with "food for thought" about one of the most important issues facing us today.
- Paperback | 256 pages
- 120 x 182 x 26mm | 295g
- 10 Dec 2008
- Harpercollins Focus
- Nashville, United States
- Special edition
It started with little fanfare over a decade ago, when genetically modified foods quietly appeared on American grocery shelves. But in the years since, GM foods have sparked a global controversy and sounded alarms here at home, triggered by a multitude of unanswered questions and dubious practices, such as highly publicized cases of "biopharm" crops contaminating the food supply...runaway commodity prices and worldwide food shortages triggered, in part, by the biofuel movement...Europe's open hostility to GM foods and Africa's outright refusal to accept food aid containing genetically modified crops. Combining solid scientific knowledge with a gripping narrative, esteemed molecular biol-ogist Dr. Lisa H. Weasel helps readers make sense of this complex, contentious issue. Positioning itself directly at the intersection of food, politics, and technology, Food Fray captures the real-life experiences and wide-ranging perspectives of the scientists, farmers, policy-makers, and grassroots activists on the front lines of this fierce debate, teasing out the hype from the reality and uncovering the very real pros and cons of genetically modified foods. Insightful and even-handed, Food Fray: - Exposes the ruthless business practices of biotech giants such as Monsanto, which demands that new GM seeds be purchased each year and aggressively pursues violators. - Examines the romantic, pre-scientific mentality that inflames anti-GMF passions in Europe and stirs a deep-rooted fear of "Frankenfoods." - Looks at the troubling question of whether a corporation can own proprietary rights to something as essential to survival as seeds. - Uncovers hypocritical elements of the Bush Administration's push for GMF as a humanitarian measure for starving Third World nations. - Reveals the benefits of high-yield Green Revolution varieties of rice in providing crucial calories to the chronically hungry--while inadvertently reducing dietary variety and causing malnutrition. - Explains the complicated science behind GM foods, and the sound reasons that pro-GMF sentiments prevail in the scientific community. - Explores the future potential of GM crops to provide global food security--and the need to put the public good above the profit motives that drive the biotech industry. Genetically modified foods are ubiquitous in the American diet--80 percent of all corn and 92 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. are now GM varieties. But it's a science with the potential to bring both good and harm, and an issue with no easy answers. Food Fray looks at every aspect of the debate from multiple per-spectives, giving you the information you need to make up your own mind. Lisa H. Weasel, Ph.D., is a molecular biologist and the recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the issue of genetically modified foods. She is currently a tenured professor of biology at PortlandStateUniversity in Oregon and a member of Governor Ted Kulongoski's task force on developing public policy for bio-pharmaceutical crops in Oregon. She lives in Portland.
Back cover copy
Heralded as both the quick, painless solution to solving world hunger and the scourge of modern science--a dangerous tampering with nature and the decimation of traditional crops and communities--genetically modified foods have triggered volatile debates and deeply contradictory dialogues the world over. "Food Fray" cuts through the complex science, boiling passions, and ethical dilemmas to provide an impressive history of every significant development in the GM food story, as well as an even-handed assessment of both its potential benefits and negative consequences. Meticulously researched, yet lively and entertaining, the author travels the globe to gather the perspectives of scientists, activists, consumers, government officials, and others, as she uncovers possible answers to difficult questions: - Do GM crops encourage a dangerous dependence on bioengineered seeds, chemical fertilizers, and toxic pesticides? Or can they solve the food scarcity problems that plague mankind? - Will the world's major staple crops be controlled by a handful of countries and corporations? Or could the increased income that GM yields bring to small farmers provide the key to the prosperity of poor nations? - Will this promising science, played out against a landscape of growing consumer fear, shoddy corporate practices, and loose government regulation, ultimately be squashed? Or will biotechnology continue to develop in ways that ensure the health and prosperity of many--not just the profits of a few? Advance Praise for "Food Fray" "In a book brimming with insight, Lisa Weasel brings a truly global perspective, informed by on-the-ground research, to one of the most crucial ethical and environmental issues of our time. For anyone concerned about food security, global justice, and human health, Food Fray is indispensable." -- Dr. Gregory Hill, President, Institute for Culture and Ecology "In Food Fray, Lisa Weasel offers a compelling and balanced account of the battles over genetically modified food. It arrives just as the world is refocusing on the issue of hunger. Questioning the role of GM food as a silver bullet, she offers a nuanced and cautionary tale that should be heeded as this agricultural technology roars ahead." - Samuel Fromartz, author of "Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew"
"A riveting and disturbing reality check, "Food Fray" is a crucial reminder that it's time to be informed, not passive. Weasel's is a compelling voice affirming that the desire to know more about GM foods before eating them and to allay concerns about safety and environmental impacts, isn't at all anti-science. It's a decidedly pro-human stance." --"The Miami Herald" "Weasel asks and answers important questions about the world's food supply." --"The Oregonian" "The well-written and well-researched book combines interviews with scientists, activists, farmers, and consumers with scientific insights into this contemporary controversy." -- SciTech Book News 2009 Green Book Festival Competition Winner in the Scientific category "Dr. Weasel masterfully navigates the complicated and multi-faceted history of the storied GM debate, giving equal treatment to the various sides and ultimately entrusting the readers to come to their own conclusions. The end result is required reading for anyone curious about GM technologies, past, present and future." --" Common Ground Magazine " "An intelligent synthesis of solid research, firsthand reporting, and comprehendible analysis that manages to stay objective while critically examining the issues at hand." --"World Future Review" "The book gives a well-rounded, even-handed account fitting for any reader interested in learning more about a pressing food issue." --The Sierra Club, "The Green Life" Blog
About Lisa H. Weasel
Lisa H. Weasel, Ph.D.(Portland, OR) is a renowned scientist who received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the issue of genetically modified foods. She is currently a tenured associate Professor of Biology at Portland State University in Oregon and a member of Governor Ted Kulongoski's task force on developing public policy for bio-pharmaceutical crops in Oregon.