The head of food security for the U-S-D-A says Americans should be wary of organically-grown foods. Dr. Elsa Murano delivered the keynote address at the World Food Prize symposium underway in Des Moines, and warned that consumers need to remember that bacteria and parasites are also “all-natural.” She says that means so-called “organic” foods which have fewer or no preservatives pose a challenge if consumers aren’t fully aware of the danger. During a question-and-answer session, former American Farm Bureau president Dean Kleckner questioned the safety of organic foods. He says he’s eaten some and doesn’t think it tastes any better, and looks worse, and costs more. He says food grown conventionally or even with biotechnology is safer than organic food. Dr. Murano responded. She says as a microbiologist she says food preservatives are used for a reason, to preserve food against the growth of microorganisms. She says when you don’t have the preservatives, you have to be aware it is going to cost you something. Murano says buyer beware when it comes to organic foods. She says the foods aren’t scientifically speaking, any safer. An unnamed woman also challenged Murano to justify the U-S-D-A’s decision not to require labels to show whether the food was in any way “genetically-modified.” She says she resents corporations doing it behind their back without adequate education about the biotech foods. Dr. Murano says plant breeders have been genetically-modifying plants for centuries by using cross-pollinization and other field methods.Murano says the concern that modern laboratory research which yields new varieties of plants is somehow unsafe is a concept that’s not supported by any research, to date.
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