GHI webinar: Genetically Modified Plant Foods

Date: 24 March 2023, Time: 12 noon CET

Duration: 1.75 hours

The overall mission of the GHI GM based Plant Food Working Group is to make the discussion around GM plants and their regulation evidence-based, providing scientific consensus about the safety aspects of the use of GM based plants. The working group's focus is to address and explain the potential benefits and risks associated with the use of biotechnology in plant breeding, resulting in plants that fall under the definition of genetically modified (GM) plants. This webinar will discuss recent developments in the regulatory landscape of GM plants for use in food for humans, specifically within the European Union and Kenya.

This GHI webinar and interactive sessions, will be chaired by Dr. Diana Bogueva, Director of GHI Working Groups

How should the Genetics of the 2020ties become useful for Society?

Professor Dr. Stefan Jansson, Professor in plant cell and molecular biology at Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) and Umeå university, Umeå, Sweden

The discussion around genetically modified plants has over decades been very polarized, scepticism is widespread in society while most scientists do not see any problems. What is the current knowledge about the question, how did the discussion end up in this deadlock and is there a way forward? These issues will be discussed in this presentation, with particular focus on the situation in the European Union (EU).

Genetic Modification of Plant Foods in Kenya

Dr. Benard Odhiambo Oloo, Lecturer of Food Science and Technology at Egerton University, Njoro, Nakuru, Kenya,

The adoption of GMO crops in Africa has been a painstaking journey. Kenya recently lifted a ban on the cultivation and importation of genetically modified crops amid the worst drought in 40 years and soaring food prices. This includes white maize, the country’s main staple. The decision was welcomed by scientists who see GM crops as the answer for food security. But it is opposed by a spirited lobby who are concerned about potential risks to health and the environment. Which way shall it go?. These and more insights will be discussed at the webinar.

Speaker 1:
Professor Dr. Stefan Jansson

Dr. Stefan Jansson is Professor in plant cell and molecular biology at Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) and Umeå university, Umeå, Sweden. He is working with 1) basic research on photosynthesis, in particular regulation of light harvesting 2) natural variation in trees, for example for phenology traits and 3) genetics and genomics of trees. He is fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. He has for many years been very active in the discussions around genetically modified plants, including the regulatory status of genome-edited plants.

Speaker 2:
Dr. Benard Odhiambo Oloo

Dr. Benard Odhiambo Oloo is a Lecturer of Food Science and Technology at Egerton University, Njoro, Nakuru, Kenya, focusing on food safety of different commodity value chains in Kenya. His research area includes new product development, value addition, quality and safety. Some of the specific commodities he has worked with include fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, potatoes, sweet potatoes, meat and meat products safety and quality and indigenous chicken quality and safety. He has earned several international awards including: Borlaug Fellowship (Michigan State University USA 2019), Emerging Leaders Network Award by Institute of Food Technology (IFT), USA 2018, PhD student exchange programme (Durban University of Technology, South Africa) and the African Biosciences Challenge Fund, 2017-2018 at ILRI, Kenya.

Chair & Event Moderator:
Dr. Diana Bogueva

Dr. Diana Bogueva, GHI Working Groups Director is a social scientist with interests in sustainable food consumption, alternative proteins, consumer perception of novel food processing technologies and generational consumer behaviour, food sustainability and harmonization. Diana’s work has won three awards: the Australian National Best Book winner in 2019 and the World’s Best Book award 2020 in the Vegetarian book category at the prestigious 24th and 25th Gourmand Awards, considered equivalent to the Oscars in the area of food books, for her co-edited book ‘Environmental, Health and Business Opportunities in the New Meat Alternatives Market’. She also won the 2020 Faculty of Humanities Journal Article of the Year Award at Curtin University for their co-authored paper “Planetary Health and reduction in meat consumption”, which was at the top 5% of all world research outputs scored by Altmetrics. Diana is also a finalist in the 10th International Book Award at America’s Book Fair 2019 for her co-edited book ‘Handbook of Research on Social marketing and its influence on animal origin food product consumption’. In 2022 Diana published her first co-authored book ‘Food in a Planetary Emergency’ with Professor Dora Marinova. This book is a timely overview of current food systems and the required transformations to respond to climate change, population pressures, biodiversity loss and use of natural resources.