Consultant, Savage & Associates
Steve Savage has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural technology having worked in academics (Colorado State University), at a global research company (DuPont), at a biotechnology start-up (Mycogen), and for the last 16 years as a consultant. Over the years, his research and consulting topics have ranged from biological control to crop protection chemicals (synthetic and natural product based); traits based on advances from traditional genetics to biotechnology; and crops from grains to specialty fruits and vegetables. He has also worked extensively on bio-fuels, fertilizers and on footprints of farming (carbon, water, energy and land-use).
Studies, Articles and Answers
Showing 4 out of 26 results
A: This is a great question. Let me start by providing a bit of historical context. Most industries that are regulated have a history of past environmental or health problems that precipitated the need for governmental oversight in the first place. In the case of crops improved by biotechnology, the regulations were put in place well before any such crops were commercialized, with the express purpose of ensuring that this promising technology would not cause problems. The scientific community began thinking though any potential health or environmental issues starting with a major confer [...]Environment How GMOs Are Made Pesticides
Q: About regulation... Another answer by Steve Savage says the following -- "The USDA considers whether there are any “plant pest” issues with the specific crop and trait such as the ability to cross with weedy relatives." and "The EPA gets involved if
A: No, this is not an example of a biotech crop crossing with a weed. The “pig weed” in question here is actually what is known as Palmer Amaranth―a serious weed problem in its own right, regardless of herbicide tolerance. As with many other weeds that have become resistant to herbicides, including those long before biotechnology, it is not an issue of the tolerance moving to the weed by outcrossing, but rather that the use of the herbicide selects for resistant types that occur within the natural genetic diversity of the weed population. If anything, the issue has been that farmers have re [...]GMOs & Farmers How GMOs Are Made Pesticides
Q: How can an organism that has been genetically modified to produce "Round Up" Be considered safe to eat when all there is a variety of anecdotal evidence readily availible that states Glyphosate is harmfulhttp://action.responsibletechnology.org/p/salsa/we
A: First of all, no organisms have ever been modified to produce Roundup (glyphosate). Several crops have been modified with a minimally altered version of one of their existing enzymes (EPSPS) which makes them tolerant to that herbicide, but they don't make it. Second, regulatory agencies around the world don't base their decisions on “anecdotal evidence,” no matter how much is available. They stick to solid science. The consensus among regulators is quite clear that glyphosate has no real health or environmental issues. I'm sorry that so many people think that agencies like the EPA are so [...]Environment GMOs & Farmers GMOs in Groceries
Q: How can companies producing GMO plants confirm that their plants will not affect non-GMO plants? Could GMO plants cross with non-GMO plants? If so, has any testing occurred to know what the outcomes are and how they may affect people or other plants?
A: Plants can only pollinate members of their own species or sometimes very closely related species. It is relatively easy to know whether there are any "outcrossing issues" with a new GM plant. This is one of the issues that the USDA considers whenever it approves of outdoor trials with new GM crops and when it makes the final "deregulation" decision. Of course, GM versions of a crop can cross pollinate non-GM versions of the same crop, but this is nothing new to agriculture. For a very long time, it has been necessary to isolate seed production fields of various cr [...]Environment Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made