Safety

Philippines: Farmers Harvest the First Golden Rice
Media

Philippines: Farmers Harvest the First Golden Rice

The world’s first Golden Rice harvest recently took place in the Philippines. The rice is enriched with a beta carotene gene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the human body. The aim is to bring an end to the widespread vitamin A deficiencies in developing countries. But there has been and still is massive resistance to growing it.

Genome editing: United Kingdom on its way to the top
Media

Genome editing: United Kingdom on its way to the top

The British Parliament is planning to pass a law that will provide new legislation for new breeding technologies, such as genome editing. This new legislation will pave the way for Great Britain to become a leading figure in agri-food research.

According to the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, “every second meal is imported”
Media

According to the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, “every second meal is imported”

The coronavirus pandemic, the Ukraine war and the energy crisis have all brought the vulnerability of supply chains into sharp relief. In an interview with the Tages-Anzeiger, the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, Christian Hofer, warns against becoming too dependent on food imports. Switzerland must take care of its food security.

Safety and security: Productivity and Trust
Knowledge

Safety and security: Productivity and Trust

In order to be able to feed ten billion people by 2050, substantial effort will be required from the agriculture and research sectors. Security and safety will play a major role in this, with both food security and food safety being key. In order to ensure food security, productivity and food production levels need to be increased.

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The great benefits of biotechnology in agriculture
Knowledge

The great benefits of biotechnology in agriculture

Bioengineered crops have been cultivated in many parts of the world for around 25 years. Several publications bear witness to the great benefits of biotechnology in agriculture. The cultivation of the plants has a positive effect on the environment, the climate and yields for farmers.

Organic products more frequently affected by recalls
Media

Organic products more frequently affected by recalls

Organic products have to be taken off retailers’ shelves at an above-average rate. The reason for this is toxins from plants harvested together with the organic produce or from molds. They can be controlled less well in organic agriculture than in conventional agriculture.

Green genetic engineering: A rethink is required
Media

Green genetic engineering: A rethink is required

There are now more skeptics than ever before when it comes to biotechnological plant breeding methods, despite 30 years of research having produced a clear data basis. Conventional genetic engineering or the more modern CRISPR/Cas method present no increased risks compared to traditional breeding methods, such as cross-breeding.

Africa: 500 million people without water security
Media

Africa: 500 million people without water security

Around one third of the people on the African continent live without safe access to water. According to the United Nations, even in the most water-rich regions of the continent there is insufficient water security. In addition, the large groundwater reserves in Africa are virtually unused. In the most recent World Water Report, the UN therefore calls for intelligent use of groundwater.

Wars and political calculations fuel famine
Knowledge

Wars and political calculations fuel famine

In the 20th century, an estimated 70 million people died as a result of famine. A look into the history shows: Almost always wars or authoritarian rulers were the cause of hunger.

Genome Editing: Standards are being relaxed all over the world
Politics

Genome Editing: Standards are being relaxed all over the world

Great Britain has already decided on its first steps, Switzerland has too: The handling of simple genome-edited plants is being made easier.

New breeding methods – here to stay
Knowledge

New breeding methods – here to stay

The Swiss Parliament has decided to update the genetic engineering moratorium that has been in place since 2005. The step was overdue. On the occasion of a webinar organized by swiss-food.ch, experts from science and agriculture spoke about the benefits of new biotechnological breeding methods. It became clear: the risks are low, the opportunities are great.

Five myths about pesticides
Media

Five myths about pesticides

The Austrian "Kronen Zeitung" clears up five myths about the use of pesticides in agriculture. With regard to toxicity, what the doctor Paracelsus knew still applies today: The dose makes the poison.

Fighting against genome editing with yesterday’s weapons
Politics

Fighting against genome editing with yesterday’s weapons

The Council of States (upper house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland) intends to allow genome editing provided that no foreign genetic material is inserted into new plant varieties through this method. The decision is causing consternation among genetic engineering skeptics. But you only have to look at their arguments to see that the opponents of genetic engineering are fighting with yesterday’s weapons.

Less crop protection in 2020, probably more in 2021
Knowledge

Less crop protection in 2020, probably more in 2021

The federal figures for the volume of plant protection products sold in 2020 offer a contradictory picture: total sales figures for plant protection products have continued to decline. In 2020, 1930 tonnes of plant protection products were sold in Switzerland in total. There was an increase in the sale of plant protection products permitted for use in organic farming. This also includes substances that pose a considerable risk.

Honey bees not on brink of extinction
Research

Honey bees not on brink of extinction

For about 15 years now, the story of alleged colony collapse disorder has persisted in the media, often attributed to pesticides and genetically modified plants. There is increasing evidence, however, that worldwide honey bee populations remain stable or are even growing.

Safe Use of Highly Effective Pesticides
Knowledge

Safe Use of Highly Effective Pesticides

If Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHP), as they are known, are handled and used correctly, they are safe. In many countries, indeed, they are the only solution for saving lives,

Chemistry is everything - it also protects against natural poisoning
Knowledge

Chemistry is everything - it also protects against natural poisoning

Professor Nuno Maulide is Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Vienna. The Portuguese-born professor talks about misunderstood chemistry in an interview with Visao, a Portuguese news magazine.

Genome editing for livestock farming
Media

Genome editing for livestock farming

More than 800 animal scientists met recently at the annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss challenges and solutions relating to the future of livestock breeding and farming.

Risk management rather than paralysis
Politics

Risk management rather than paralysis

Europe struggles with risk management. Rather than weighing the benefits and risks of technologies, it focuses mainly on a cautious approach.

«Pesticides are becoming increasingly toxic»
Knowledge

«Pesticides are becoming increasingly toxic»

This is the opposite of the truth. Over the last few decades, pesticides have become safer and safer. New active ingredients are subjected to extremely stringent approval processes.

“Genetic engineering endangers health”
Knowledge

“Genetic engineering endangers health”

It is often said that genetically modified foods are not safe and could have a negative impact on human and animal health. However, these claims cannot be substantiated by facts.

Genetically modified maize – a success story, even in skeptical Europe
Research

Genetically modified maize – a success story, even in skeptical Europe

Europeans are still resisting the cultivation of genetically modified crops – but this doesn’t mean they want to forgo the benefits of these products.

“More than 200,000 deaths annually due to pesticide poisoning”
Knowledge

“More than 200,000 deaths annually due to pesticide poisoning”

If you look closely, you can see: The number comes from a 35-year-old study. In a thought experiment at the time, suicides involving pesticides in Sri Lanka were extrapolated worldwide.

Facts about drinking water and limit values
Knowledge

Facts about drinking water and limit values

'Pure' water is either a tasteless distillate or a selling point. As natural products, neither tap water nor branded water is 'pure'. However, both can be drunk without hesitation.

Difference between risk and danger
Knowledge

Difference between risk and danger

Danger and risk are often confused in the discussion surrounding pesticides. Sometimes the two terms are even used synonymously. That is as incorrect as it is negligent, because dangerous substances do not always present a high risk. By the same token, substances that are not considered to be dangerous can indeed pose a risk. Danger and risk are therefore not identical.

Scientists urge common sense
Knowledge

Scientists urge common sense

The second Swiss-Food Talk was attended by three internationally recognised experts from the fields of toxicology, water protection and food safety. They discussed the handling of limit values and the partly wrong interpretation in the public discourse. The scientists pleaded for more objectivity.

Content in German

Test report questions pesticide ban
Politics

Test report questions pesticide ban

On 12 December, the federal government announced the ban of the fungicide chlorothalonil - although a test report classified two degradation products as "not relevant".

Content in German

"Natural is healthy, chemicals are toxic."
Knowledge

"Natural is healthy, chemicals are toxic."

Everything that occurs in nature is healthy and synthetically produced substances, i.e. "chemical" substances, are toxic. This myth is fundamentally wrong: There are many highly toxic substances in nature, and at the same time there are many synthetic substances that are absolutely harmless.