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GMO Labeling: Do We Need It?

Thursday, April 4, 2013
06:30 PM - 08:30 PM

NYU Global Center for Academic & Spiritual Life
238 Thompson St, 5th fl, Grand Hall
between Washington Square S and W 3rd St
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Stacie Orell

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Presented by NYU Wagner Food Policy Alliance and GMO Free NY

Polls show 90% of Americans want the right to know what’s in the food they buy. The biotech industry maintains GMOs pose no special risk and so labeling is unnecessary; The New York Times Editorial Board agrees. Labeling proponents counter that existing research studies on GMO safety are industry-conducted and inadequate; human health risks remain unknown. Labels will allow consumers to make informed decisions.

So, to label or not to label? Spurred on by moderator Frederick Kaufman’s provocative questions, our panel of experts will share their differing points of view on this hot-button topic, leaving the audience to decide in which camp they stand.


Frederick Kaufman
Author, Journalist, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Frederick Kaufman, author of Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food, has discussed food policy on NBC and MSNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg TV, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, and the BBC World Service. A contributing editor at Harper's Magazine, Kaufman's work has also appeared in Scientific American, Nature, Popular Science, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Gourmet, Saveur, Slate, and Wired. He is Professor of English and Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and has spoken at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Public Library, Harvard Law School, and the General Assembly of the United Nations.


Dr. Walter S. De Jong
Cornell University, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics
Walter S. De Jong, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and the Director of Graduate Studies, Field of Plant Breeding, at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His research focuses on the genetic improvement of potato, both by conventional and molecular genetic means. The highest priority of his breeding program is to develop agronomically-acceptable varieties that are resistant to the golden nematode, a soil-borne pathogen present in NY but no other state. He previously worked as a molecular geneticist at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in the UK. He holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Molecular Genetics from University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr. Carolyn Dimitri
NYU Steinhardt, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
Carolyn Dimitri, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and an applied economist who studies food systems and food policy. She is recognized as the leading expert in the procurement and marketing of organic food, and has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food. She is currently studying the state of urban agriculture in 15 cities around the country as well as conducting a spatial analysis of the food environment in Manhattan. Dimitri has received grants from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Research Initiative, and Risk Management Agency, and Northeast Center for Risk Management Education. For more than a decade, she worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. She earned a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Jean Halloran
Consumers Union, Food Policy Initiatives
Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives, has worked on food safety and sustainability issues at Consumers Union for the last 25 years. She frequently speaks at conferences and to the media, who tap her expertise on subjects ranging from mercury in tuna fish to pending food safety legislation. She also works with consumer organizations globally and helped develop international standards for safety assessment of genetically engineered food at the Codex Alimentarius Commission. She is currently responsible for developing policy and staff initiatives on strengthening FDA and USDA roles in food safety, biotechnology, mad cow disease prevention, seafood safety, and bacteria in meat, poultry, and produce. She presently serves on the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and previously on the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ms. Halloran received her B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College.

Patty Lovera
Food & Water Watch
Patty Lovera is the Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch, where she coordinates the Food Team. Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Ms. Lovera was the Deputy Director of the Energy and Environment Program at Public Citizen and a researcher at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Lehigh University and her Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan.