Kate Lee - New and emerging technologies
I am 28 years old and I worked for the UK farming unions and the National Pig Association in Brussels from September 2006 until September 2012. Whilst this was a very cosmopolitan life I lived and breathed agriculture every day in trying to communicate the needs and aspirations of UK farmers to policy makers.
Key policies I worked included organic food, biotechnology, cloning, food labelling and climate change. I also worked with the EU Commission, Member State Governments and the European Parliament at a crucial time when welfare laws were coming into force on farm animals such as laying hens and pigs.
I had a joyful upbringing in Cheshire, I have a twin sister Jenny and a younger sister Amy who work in photography and fashion. I love languages and speak French, Spanish, Portuguese and I am learning Danish. Otherwise in my spare time I enjoy hiking, running half marathons (I could never do a full one!) and touch rugby. I am also partial to a bit of singing and dancing!
Agri company opposes the GMO labelling proposition in California
My first week here was spent with the ‘yessers’ on GMO labelling, who are asking their fellow Californians to vote in favour of the provisions at the public vote on November 6.
I have met some of America’s leading scientists on the matter, as well as people who are passionately committed to their side of the debate.
It was important for me to also make an effort to understand the ‘no’ campaign. One way I did this was by meeting Monsanto, the company that markets many of the GM seeds in the USA.
Monsanto is against the mandatory labelling of GM food as written in California's 'proposition 37' and is a well known funder of the ‘no’ campaign.
For them, GMOs are the most thoroughly tested foods in the history of mankind. I heard that the eight GMO foods approved for commercial cultivation in the US - corn, cotton and soybean among them – have already been approved on environmental and safety grounds by various US Government agencies.
In Monsanto’s words, the conclusion is that ‘there is no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way’.
What seems to be the main ‘no’ argument therefore is that food would be demonised or misrepresented on the supermarket shelves when there is no scientific justification to do so.
If proposition 37 goes through on Tuesday, they say the only result will be cost, bureaucracy and customer confusion.