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News Release

University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture



June 4
, 2012

CONTACTS:

Mark Walton, Ph.D., MWalton Enterprises, Austin, Texas


512
-
243
-
7424, mark.walton@mwaltonenterprisesllc.com



Terry Siebenmorgen, University Professor of Food Scien
ce


and Rice Processing Program director


tsiebenm@uark.edu, 479
-
575
-
4605



Howell Medders, Division of Agriculture Communications


479
-
575
-
5647, hmedders@uark.edu



'Trust' cited as key to realizing biotechnology benefits

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.


A California

ballot in
itiative to require labeling
food
products that contain ingredients made from genetically modified crop varieties is a test
of the public's trust in biotechnology, Mark Walton said at the annual Industry Alliance
Meeting of the University of Arka
nsas System Division of Agriculture's
Rice Processing
Program May
23
-
24.

Walton, chief executive officer of MWalton Enterprises LLC in Austin, consult
s
with companies and institutions in agriculture and agricultural biotechnology and work to
p
romot
e

biotec
hnology
as a tool
to help increase world food production.

He has a Ph.D.
from the University of Nebraska in agronomy with a specialty in plant breeding.

Walton's
keynote address in

the
John W. Tyson Building a
uditorium on the U of A
campus was to rice
indu
stry leaders from 14 companies in the U.S., Europe and

South
America who support Rice Processing Program

research

projects
. The Arkansas Rice
Research and Promotion Board also support
s

the program.

Arkansas farmers do not plant genetically modified varieti
es of rice because it is
prohibited in some countries that import rice from Arkansas. That is
unfortunate
, Walton
said, because major advances in rice production efficiency and nutritional content a
re
possible through genetic engineering
.

Several governmen
tal and non
-
governmental agencies are promoting the use of
genetically modified crop varieties to help feed a growing world population, Walton s
aid.
"Feed the Real World" is a 501(c)3 organization he has founded to campaign for
wider
acceptance of advances

in crop production through biotechnology
.

According to Walton, t
he U.S. Food and Drug Administration bases food labeling
requirements on
"actual product attributes,
" not the process by which ingredients were
produced.

A GMO label, as proposed in the Calif
ornia ballot initiative,
would provide no
information about a product's composition, Walton said.

A genetically modified organism is one that has been altered
using the
techniques of genetic engineering

to

insert a

gene, which may be from the same
organism

or another organism
.

Genetic modification of a plant variety

by conventional
plant breeding as practiced since the nineteenth century also

change
s

genetic traits of
the variety for t
he better or worse.
Walton said

the method used to add, enhance or
delete

a genet
ic trait has no bearing on the actual product attributes.

"Trust is critical for innovation," Walto
n said. He likened the
distrust of
biotechnology as a means of improving food production and quality to that of
groundbreaking scientists such as
Nic
olaus Copernicus

and

Galileo Galilei
, who were
branded Christian heretics for publishing their observations that

the e
arth revolves
around the sun.

News releases and photos are available online at

http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/392.htm