Independent Expert

Neal Van Alfen

Professor, UC Davis

Neal Van Alfen is professor of plant pathology at UC Davis. His research focuses on fungal molecular biology with the goal of controlling plant diseases using low-input, sustainable methods such as biological control using fungal viruses. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Phytopathological Society, Van Alfen serves, or has served, on numerous national and international committees and boards, including the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation.

Van Alfen served as dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis from 1999 – 2012 during which he led a three-fold increase of extramural research support per faculty member, created a number of research and outreach centers and institutes, including the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and the Center for Produce Safety. Prior to earning a doctoral degree in plant pathology from UC Davis, Van Alfen earned bachelor’s (chemistry) and master’s (botany) degrees from Brigham Young University.

From this Expert

Posted On: Thursday, 8/01/2013 7:20 pm
A: Calling the proposal to label food containing GMOs as deceptive is typical of the type of language used in political campaigns.  It is based on a valid issue, but is over-the-top in choice of words to address the issue.  The primary issue is that labeling of food in the U.S. is done to protect the consumer.  Information is provided that addresses food safety and nutritional issues.  Food produced by molecular genetic modification methods has been carefully screened and... Continue Reading
Posted On: Wednesday, 7/17/2013 5:59 pm
A: This seems to be a fair and reasonable request — to know how our food was created.  Food is already labeled with its ingredients when it has been processed, and warnings are sometimes included on labels.  So why not let the consumer know if any of the components of the food were GMOs?  The reason food is not labeled as containing GMOs is that mandatory food labeling is used only to provide information that may be important for consumers to make food choices regarding... Continue Reading
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