Vail Symposium: Pros and cons of bio-engineered food |

Vail Symposium: Pros and cons of bio-engineered food

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Vail Symposium’s Active Minds summer series concludes with a look bio-engineered food. The discussion will focus on the scientific advancements in bio-engineered food and the potential undesirable consequences for people’s health and the environment. Wednesday night’s program will be taught by Active Minds co-founder John Henderson and will take place at the Golden Eagle Community Center at 5:30 p.m. Like all Active Minds presentations, the event is free to the public.

“The science behind bio-engineered food is a very young science. To some, this first world technological advance provides an opportunity for second and third world countries however ethical debates remain in regards to ownership of genetic material,” Henderson said.

Through advances in molecular biology, scientists are able to make specific changes in genes to modify desirable traits of plants. While the first commercially grown genetically modified crop was a tomato, other common genetically modified foods include soybean, corn, rice and papaya.

Critics of bio-engineered food have concerns about regulation, cross pollination and potential food allergy impacts of future plant generations. Advocates believe modified foods are more drought tolerant and decrease the crop’s reliance on pesticides – a potential solution for malnourished populations where bio-engineered food is virtually nonexistent. The controversy over the short-term solution for food shortage and long-term environmental and health impacts is an ongoing debate. Consumers must rely on the scientists, health authorities and the food industry to scrutinize bio-engineered food practices.

“The Symposium feels it necessary to bring awareness and diverse opinions on this subject to the valley about the state of our food resources,” said Carrie Marsh, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “As populations grow in our valley and throughout the world, this topic will become more and more important for us to understand.”

Coming in October, author Robyn O’ Brien will discuss her take on food manipulation with her book “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.” Visit for more information.

As a part of the Vail Symposium’s mission to offer affordable educational opportunities in the Vail Valley, the Active Minds series has been offered since the summer of 2006. The program is designed to introduce impartial understanding of historical, timely and sometimes controversial subjects. The Symposium partners with Denver-based Active Minds for Seniors and Eagle County to produce these programs.

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