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Andy Hedgecock

Former Director, Scientific Affairs, DuPont Pioneer

Expert Bio

I’ve always had an interest in science, how things connect and relate, and teaching. Throughout my career I’ve been passionate about how to make complicated science more meaningful. What I love about my job is I get to do all of this every day! I work with an experienced team of scientists at DuPont Pioneer that engages the global scientific community to improve our understanding of agriculture biotechnology and apply that knowledge to tough challenges. I’m enthusiastic about this forum as a means to share my passion and help people find the answers to their questions.

Andy is no longer an employee of DuPont Pioneer. Answers from Andy were provided in his former capacity as Director, Scientific Affairs, DuPont Pioneer.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Showing 10 out of 12 results

Question

Q: After reading about all the information on genetically engineered foods, I have made the choice to avoid buying all genetically engineered products. It is my prerogative to do so and my mind is made up. I do not buy foods that may potentially be transgeni

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Nov 18, 2013

A: First, I think it’s important to point out that nearly two decades of science and rigorous global review have demonstrated that biotech crops are safe. Therefore, biotech labeling is a question not of safety, but rather of how food is marketed. At DuPont Pioneer, we develop and market seed, both biotech and non-biotech, to meet the unique needs of our farmer customers and the markets they’re serving. As you’ve noted, there already are food marketing programs in place for consumers looking for products grown without the benefit of biotechnology. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certif [...]

GMOs in Groceries Health & Safety Labeling

Question

Q: If GMOs are so safe, why can't they be labeled on our food?

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Apr 16, 2014

A: In the United States, food is labeled in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy, which is the same for foods derived from biotechnology as it is for conventional foods. For example, when a food product derived from biotechnology differs in composition, nutritional value or end use, that difference must be noted on the label, just as it is with other foods (e.g., margarine vs. low-fat margarine). As you point out, GMO labeling isn’t about safety. Nearly two decades of science and rigorous global review have demonstrated that biotech crops are safe. Therefore, [...]

GMOs in Groceries Health & Safety Labeling

Question

Q: Do Monsanto and other seed companies continue to develop and offer non-GMO crop varieties for sale?

By Community Manager - Oct 09, 2014

A: At Monsanto we develop and sell both conventional and biotech seeds for our row crops, such as corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. In fact, when it comes to our vegetable seeds, Monsanto offers conventional seeds, or those without biotech, in crop varieties in all 22 vegetable crops we sell. The only two vegetable crops that we sell in both a GMO and a non-GMO variety are sweet corn and squash. Within vegetables, the vast majority of our R&D focus is not on GMOs but rather on advanced breeding efforts—more than 98% in fact—and that’s where our research focus will remain. Many other seed compan [...]

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Oct 01, 2014

A: Yes. Non-GM seeds are an important part of our business at DuPont Pioneer. For farmers, the decision about which seed to plant may be the most important one they make all year. They consider which brand and variety will work best for their soil type, growing conditions and crop rotation. We work closely with our farmer customers to make sure they understand all of their options and help them choose the best seed for their unique needs. Sometimes that means choosing a crop with a biotech trait to defend against insects or provide additional weed-control options. Other times, farmers may c [...]

By Community Manager - Oct 09, 2014

A: At Monsanto we develop and sell both conventional and biotech seeds for our row crops, such as corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. In fact, when it comes to our vegetable seeds, Monsanto offers conventional seeds, or those without biotech, in crop varieties in all 22 vegetable crops we sell. The only two vegetable crops that we sell in both a GMO and a non-GMO variety are sweet corn and squash. Within vegetables, the vast majority of our R&D focus is not on GMOs but rather on advanced breeding efforts—more than 98% in fact—and that’s where our research focus will remain. Many other seed compan [...]

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Oct 01, 2014

A: Yes. Non-GM seeds are an important part of our business at DuPont Pioneer. For farmers, the decision about which seed to plant may be the most important one they make all year. They consider which brand and variety will work best for their soil type, growing conditions and crop rotation. We work closely with our farmer customers to make sure they understand all of their options and help them choose the best seed for their unique needs. Sometimes that means choosing a crop with a biotech trait to defend against insects or provide additional weed-control options. Other times, farmers may c [...]

Business Practices GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: Do Monsanto and other seed companies continue to develop and offer non-GMO crop varieties for sale?

By Community Manager - Oct 09, 2014

A: At Monsanto we develop and sell both conventional and biotech seeds for our row crops, such as corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. In fact, when it comes to our vegetable seeds, Monsanto offers conventional seeds, or those without biotech, in crop varieties in all 22 vegetable crops we sell. The only two vegetable crops that we sell in both a GMO and a non-GMO variety are sweet corn and squash. Within vegetables, the vast majority of our R&D focus is not on GMOs but rather on advanced breeding efforts—more than 98% in fact—and that’s where our research focus will remain. Many other seed compan [...]

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Oct 01, 2014

A: Yes. Non-GM seeds are an important part of our business at DuPont Pioneer. For farmers, the decision about which seed to plant may be the most important one they make all year. They consider which brand and variety will work best for their soil type, growing conditions and crop rotation. We work closely with our farmer customers to make sure they understand all of their options and help them choose the best seed for their unique needs. Sometimes that means choosing a crop with a biotech trait to defend against insects or provide additional weed-control options. Other times, farmers may c [...]

By Community Manager - Oct 09, 2014

A: At Monsanto we develop and sell both conventional and biotech seeds for our row crops, such as corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. In fact, when it comes to our vegetable seeds, Monsanto offers conventional seeds, or those without biotech, in crop varieties in all 22 vegetable crops we sell. The only two vegetable crops that we sell in both a GMO and a non-GMO variety are sweet corn and squash. Within vegetables, the vast majority of our R&D focus is not on GMOs but rather on advanced breeding efforts—more than 98% in fact—and that’s where our research focus will remain. Many other seed compan [...]

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Oct 01, 2014

A: Yes. Non-GM seeds are an important part of our business at DuPont Pioneer. For farmers, the decision about which seed to plant may be the most important one they make all year. They consider which brand and variety will work best for their soil type, growing conditions and crop rotation. We work closely with our farmer customers to make sure they understand all of their options and help them choose the best seed for their unique needs. Sometimes that means choosing a crop with a biotech trait to defend against insects or provide additional weed-control options. Other times, farmers may c [...]

Business Practices GMOs & Farmers

Question

Q: We have found that plants / fruits grown from GMO seeds bare unprecedented consequences for the consumers (humans and farm animals) by measuring the respective resonant frequency of the non-modified (natural) version and the gmo modified version of the pl

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Nov 01, 2013

A: I have not seen any information to explain or support the allegations that you state, so I’m going to skip ahead to the last sentence, which is your question.  Our supportive position is based on the scientific evidence of the safety and benefits of GM crops.  I would encourage you to read the following reports from well-respected international organizations for details on both the safety and the benefits: Safety From 2001 to 2010, the European Commission funded more than 50 studies in Europe alone, at a cost of >200 million euros and performed by more than 400 research gr [...]

Other

Question

Q: - Reposted to this section of the forum from another thread so as to include a specific category -The list of funding partners for this web site clearly indicates the kind of answers we are most likely to see here. They can only be slanted in favor of GMO

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Aug 16, 2013

A: I see your curiosity here, and I share your interest. We have investigated GM maize, and our studies demonstrated a different observation than you had. The basic design of these studies is a comparison between livestock fed diets containing GM or non-GM maize. We use performance indicators, like overall weight, average daily gain and milk production in the case of dairy cows, to gauge the nutritional equivalence of the GM and non-GM feed. These performance indicators also are a good measure of palatability, because if the animals don't like the feed, they won't eat as well and [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: The anti GM Lobbyists often refer about the research carried out in EU. How far these research findings in EU are reliable?

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Dec 09, 2013

A: I can’t comment on the quality or credibility of a research study without the specific reference, but I will say that the body of scientific evidence is more important than any one individual study. In the case of biotechnology, the body of evidence overwhelmingly points to the safety of biotech crops for people and the planet. Major scientific bodies and regulatory agencies around the world have reviewed the research on GM crops and reached consensus on their safety. That includes the EU, where the European Food Safety Authority has determined the grain from many GM crops is safe for im [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made

Question

Q: Who will benefit from your genetically modified crops? What does your company hope to achieve with genetic modification?

Answered By Mary Boote - Aug 22, 2013

A: Biotechnology has been helping farmers around the world increase their productivity, boosting crop yields by providing protection from pests, viruses and poor weather.  Genetically modified crops are an important tool that helps the world's farmers sustainably feed a growing world population.  We hear many positive stories, based on firsthand experience with biotech crops, from farmers around the world every day. [...]

Answered By Rosalie Ellasus - Aug 22, 2013

A: Biotechnology is widely accepted around the world, where farmers have harvested more than 3.5 billion acres of it over the last 20 years. A few of those acres have been mine. I started growing GM crops shortly after the death of my husband. They helped me get my life back together and gave me the financial means to send my children to school. They also put food on the table. I mean this both figuratively and literally because in my home we eat what we grow. Biotech crops aren't merely just okay to eat. They're actually better than non-biotech crops. They allow us to grow more food on less lan [...]

Answered By Rajesh Kumar - Aug 22, 2013

A: I've grown non-GM brinjal, a staple vegetable that many people around the world call eggplant, on my farm for many years, so I know the challenges that it presents. The pests are terrible. Fruit and shoot borers can reduce a crop badly or destroy it entirely. Up to now, pesticides have offered the only way to cope. We spray every 15 days on my farm. Some farmers actually overdo it, applying pesticide more frequently, due to ignorance or anxiety. This creates problems for workers in fields and families in kitchens. Biotechnology can change all this. By using the same safe and proven technology [...]

By GMOAnswers Admin_1 - Aug 22, 2013

A: We all benefit from GM crops. Millions of farmers around the world know this, and so do the majority of scientists. As a scientist, father and neighbor, I often get this question from people in my community. The short answer is that GM crops help farmers grow crops more efficiently, protect biodiversity and provide all of us with a more abundant and affordable food supply. But the world is adding 200,000 persons every day, and the United Nations estimates the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. And as the population increases and agriculture attempts to increase productivity to m [...]

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Aug 22, 2013

A: Improved nutrition is one of the many exciting things we can achieve through genetic modification. For example, biotech companies such as DuPont Pioneer are close to commercializing soybeans that produce oil with a better nutrition profile than traditional soybean oil. This high-oleic oil has 0 g trans fat and less saturated fat and is higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, similar to what you would find in olive oil. In developed countries like the United States, we worry about cutting back on calories, while the challenge in many parts of the world is getting enough. Genetic modi [...]

Answered By Community Manager - May 06, 2015

A: Jacque Matsen, Public Affairs Manager at DuPont Pioneer, discusses the future of GMOs and benefits of the technology.   [...]

GMO Basics How GMOs Are Made

Question

Q: The term GMO to refer to food derived from plants whose genetic endowment, in part, includes traits inserted or deleted through biotech techniques is both highly predjudicial and hardly accurate. Even if genetic engineering had not been invented, virtual

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Apr 11, 2014

A: You make very valid points in your question. The goal of food labeling, and this site, should be to provide information that helps consumers make their own determination about a topic that is important to them and their food choices. We believe any label—whether it references biotechnology, GMOs or another term—should be helpful, not confusing, for consumers.   We’re continuing to have conversations across the value chain and with a variety of stakeholders to figure out how we can best meet the growing desire for information about how food is raised, and—as you point out—share it in a way [...]

GMOs in Groceries Health & Safety Labeling

Question

Q: Given there are similar levels of scientific consensus regarding climate change and GMO safety, why is it that so many people who are firmly committed to mitigating the effects of climate change based on scientific consensus are equally firmly of the beli

Answered By Andy Hedgecock - Feb 11, 2014

A: As you point out, the science overwhelmingly supports the safety of GM food. However, we also know that decisions about food are very personal and influenced by many factors. We launched this site to give people the chance to ask the questions about biotechnology that are most important to them. Author, journalist and environmental activist Mark Lynas addressed this question during his presentation at the Risk Science Center’s Bernstein Symposium in October 2013. Lynas was one of the early leaders of the anti-biotech movement and was involved in several biotech crop destructions.  D [...]

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