Agriculture and food policy have not become even small issues in the 2016 presidential campaign, but on Friday, TV host Bill Maher asked President Barack Obama about “food purity” and “torturing animals on factory farms” and got answers.
Obama did not say anything that deviated from his previous statements, but it was a rare, three-minute exchange with the president on the subject.
Maher asked if food should not be put “more at the top of the agenda” on health care.
Obama replied, “We’ve got a disease care system; we should have a health care system,” which would include nutrition and exercise.
Obama also noted that “for a long time, agribusiness has had an obviously prominent seat at the table in Congress, and it is bipartisan.” He also said that some of the reforms to school lunches promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama “have actually made some progress on this front, and Michelle deserves a lot of credit, as do a bunch of organizations that worked on this.”
On both antibiotics and genetic modification, Obama said, “it is important to look at the science on this stuff.”
“The science is clear that we pump our animals full of it [antibiotics]” and that is a problem due to bacterial resistance, Obama said.
But on GMOs, Obama said, “there are areas where there are legitimate concerns, there are some areas where the science seems to indicate this is OK.”
Apparently referring to a recent New York Times story that said science shows that some GMOs do not increase yield and result in just as much pesticide being used, Obama said that “whether we are on the left or the right” policy should be “driven by the science.”
If GMO foods “aren’t healthier, aren’t more productive and use more pesticides, then we should follow the science,” he said. “If in some cases they are not causing harm, then we should also follow the science there as well.”
You can watch the exchange here: Bill Maher’s Twitter video – #HealthCare vs. #DiseaseCare: Food purity in America w/@POTUS
© Copyright 2016 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.