Genetically Modified Food at Epcot?

A follow up to the my comments on the Inhabitat article about Epcot. There’s a meme spreading through the blogosphere that Disney is growing Genetically Modified food in the greenhouses at ‘The Land’ pavilion. This might be a concern to some, since a big part of the pavilion is that the food grown there is served at various Epcot restaurants. Disney may be performing some crop modification, but I don’t think they’re talking about gene splicing or Genetically Modified Food as defined at wikipedia. This is more about breeding for selection of beneficial properties.

For instance, only the tomato plant seeds that show promise of growing into a giant tomato tree will be harvested for future plantings of said tree. Same with seeds from plants that react better to hydroponics; they’re more likely to replant with those seeds than from plants with a low harvest, etc. Part of the experiment is to find ways to increase crop harvests in developing nations.

I asked Disney World for an official comment, but so far no one has gotten back to me. However, I doubt there is any one is in a back room with a gene splicing machine crossing tomatoes with dog hair (or other genes) to provide a better product.

The only possible exception to this is the NASA space crop experiments (which I believe are actually performed elsewhere and we just see a sample on the attraction). I’ll see if I can find out more on this on a future visit. Frequently not mentioned is the curious seedless plant reproduction process. The boat tour completely skips over it now, but the ‘laboratory’ window features the technology.

To add to the confusion, Disney recently switched from having a live host on the boat ride "Living With The Land" to a recorded spiel. This gives a more consistent show, but the over all show suffers because there will be less frequent ‘set changes’ in the greenhouse and no personal contact with the agri-tech interns. This means questions like those raised in the Inhabitat article discussion go unanswered

Via Wikipedia we see a summary of the debate over the safety of GM food. Since the verdict is still out over the potential long term health affects, if there is GM food in use at WDW, it would be nice to provide a clear warning to guests who would choose not to eat those products. For that matter, how about providing an ‘organic’ line of meals available at each dining establishment. I know my family is trying to eat more organic foods at home, it would be nice to have that choice at our favorite entertainment destination as well.

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