It may be true that we are what we eat. Now, with a flood of genetically modified foods overtaking the market, it is possible to eat what we are. But the prospect of genetic cannibalism is the least of the worries of food activists, and journalist Bill Lambrecht's Dinner at the New Gene Café
follows both sides of the genetically modified organism (GMO) debate with vigor. He's been covering the story since the mid-1980s, interviewing agricultural officials, biotech industry executives, family farmers, and protesters to build a comprehensive understanding of the issues.
Lambrecht's writing, clear and direct, explains the science and politics plainly enough that even those who flunked Biology or Poli Sci 101 can understand his arguments. He is equally skeptical of the claims of industry shills and activists, and often shakes his head in wonder at the incompetence of government agencies. From academic conferences to the Battle for Seattle, he's seen every aspect of the GMO wars, as they ignited in Europe and slowly spread across the world and eventually penetrated the U.S. Peppered with short essays on his own illegal home experiments with GMO seeds, Dinner at the New Gene Café offers readers insight into a growing question that will most likely define our menu choices for many years to come. --Rob Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
Lambrecht, a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has written an indispensable history of the political storm surrounding GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Beginning before the Federal Government first approved genetically modified crops (in 1998) and taking us to the present, Lambrecht traces the struggle by Monsanto Company the industry leader referred to as "Monsatan" by the opposition to overcome the backlash to GMOs that has spread from Europe to other continents and to the United States. This book's greatest asset is the firsthand testimony it gives from every side of the debate. Lambrecht himself reported on everything from the Starlink controversy, in which genetically altered corn that had not been tested on humans turned up in Taco Bell products, to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, which he witnessed firsthand, to the conference on bio-safety in Montreal, where an international agreement to precautionary language on GMOs marked the first step toward a global compromise. He provides transcripts of interviews with players such as Monsanto chairman Robert B. Shapiro, anti-GMO guru Jeremy Rifkin and Iowa farmer Earl Sime, who tells why farming is in jeopardy and how GMOs can help. Lambrecht talks with farmers, activists and government leaders in Europe, India and Africa, and shows why Monsanto's long-term future lies in foreign markets and why the ultimate success or failure of GMOs rests with consumers. (Sept.)Forecast: If given due review attention and prominent displays following Lambrecht's author tour, this could be the breakout book on GMOs. The potential readership people who are concerned about what they eat is huge.
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