Heather Pilatic's blog

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be “hampered by unnecessary regulation.” In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his “regulatory relief” agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened.

We’ve been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech “true believers,” ideologically anti-regulatory government officials and industry lobbyists have kept that flood gate open against great odds.

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

In the last few weeks beekeepers have reported staggering losses in Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio after their hives foraged on pesticide-treated corn fields. Indiana too, two years ago. What's going on in the Corn Belt?

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

No farmer in their right mind wants to poison pollinators. When I spoke with one Iowa corn farmer in January and told him about the upcoming release of a Purdue study confirming corn as a major neonicotinoid exposure route for bees, his face dropped with worn exasperation. He looked down for a moment, sighed and said, “You know, I held out for years on buying them GE seeds, but now I can’t get conventional seeds anymore. They just don’t carry ‘em."

This leaves us with two questions: 1) What do GE seeds have to do with neonicotinoids and bees? and 2) How can an Iowa corn farmer find himself feeling unable to farm without poisoning pollinators? In other words, where did U.S. corn cultivation go wrong?

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

Bees are still dying and EPA is still sitting on its hands. Luckily for those of us who like to eat, scientists have been hard at work cracking the "mystery" of colony collapse disorder (CCD). Today two new studies were published in Science, strengthening the case that neonicotinoid pesticides are indeed key drivers behind recent pollinator declines.

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

Influential philanthropists like Bill Gates hold a responsibility to be well informed about the impacts of their spending — and their words. Late last month in his annual letter on his foundation's priorities, Gates asserted that lack of support for genetically engineered (GE) crops allows world hunger to endure. He is wrong. 

We engaged the editorial team at TakePart.com, which covered Gates' letter, in a dialogue to correct a few of the key points that Gates gets wrong about world hunger, the Green Revolution and the broken promises of GE.