Bioengineered foods would have a positive impact on the consumer in many ways. There is the convenience of having favorite fruits and vegetables available year-round instead of waiting for them to be 'in-season'. Biotechnology can remove undesirable traits, like allergens and toxins, from foods by creating a healthier product. It can also add desirable traits like additional nutrients which help prevent diseases. It positively impacts the environment by making farming practices quicker, more efficient and eliminating the need in some cases for certain types of pesticides and herbicides because their resistance has been bred into the plant.
The general public is raising its expectations for meeting sustainability goals in agricultural production. The Field to Market (FTM) coalition, of which NAWG is a member, is attempting to define and establish objective measurements for sustainability in agriculture. FTM defines sustainable agriculture as “meeting the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” focusing on three specific critical outcomes:
- Increasing productivity to meet future nutritional needs while decreasing impacts on the environment, including water, soil, habitat, air quality and climate emissions, and land use;
- Improving human health through access to safe, nutritious food; and
- Improving the social and economic well-being of agricultural communities.
Biotechnology traits can contribute to all three of these critical outcomes, and in so doing, enable the wheat industry to meet expectations from society for abundant, high-quality, safe food at competitive prices, produced in a sustainable way.