Monsanto Wins World Food Prize

The World Food Prize is a premier award in the food industry. Receiving this honor is comparable to winning an Oscar or Nobel Prize. Since it’s foundation in 1987, the prize has recognized major figures in food who have improved the “quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.” The World Food Prize Foundation was created by Norman Borlaug​, a Nobel prize-winning humanitarian who worked to increase grain harvests worldwide. This year’s recipients are a controversial choice, as the three scientists who won are the leading pioneers in the creation of genetically modified plants.

The winners of the 2013 World Food Prize are the executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto, Robert T. Fraley, and scientists Marc Van Montagu from Belgium and Mary-Dell Chilton of the U.S. If you learn to cook online, you are likely aware of the major food issues facing the world. One of the biggest areas of concern for food is potential shortage as the population grows, and the role that GMOs play in it has always been controversial.

Since the 1980s, these scientists have developed methods for inserting foreign genes into plants so that they will produce more crops and become more resistant to insects, disease and climate changes during the growing season. Chilton and her team were responsible for discovering the process of transferring genes from other organisms into plants, while Fraley furthered her research and commercialized it through crops such as Roundup Ready. These types of soybeans can survive by being sprayed with herbicide to kill any nearby weeds that may be growing.

The announcement of the World Food Prize to Fraley, Chilton and Van Montagu comes at a time when bioengineered foods are under great controversy and scrutiny. By winning this award, these scientists hope that advocacy groups, the general public and European authorities, especially, will begin to accept that bioengineered crops are important to meeting the food needs of a rapidly growing population.

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