Western Courier

Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

 I am writing to you in response of the article posted in the Western Courier on Oct. 17, 2016. The article was written by Tiffany Geer and titled, “Consider lab-grown proteins.” While reading the article, I came across some misrepresented information. I would like to offer my insight from an agricultural background.

 Geer’s opinion was written well, but her interpretation of her source is misleading. She writes that the lab-grown meat is free of harmful bacteria and antibiotics because of the sterile environment in which the cultures are grown. From this standpoint, it is critical to know that processed meat does not contain any sort of antibiotics. There are strict regulations that keep antibiotics out of all meat used for consumption. Animals that are sick and need antibiotic treatment undergo a withdrawal period. This means that any animal that receives antibiotics cannot be processed (milk or meat) for a certain length of time depending on the antibody used. This ensures that 100 percent of the product is out of the animal’s body before it is processed. This is a great misconception in the industry right now, and it needs to be addressed in every way possible.

 Also, the article states that crops are drenched in chemical to keep them alive. This is also untrue. Pesticides and herbicides are applied to crops to ensure the health of the plant. Pesticides keep the harmful insects away from the crop. This prevents yield loss due to insect consumption. Other components added to the soil ensure proper nutrients for the crops to grow.  Crops require macro- and micronutrients to acquire adequate growth. There are several different soil types that contain different amounts of nutrients. Sometimes it is necessary to add the nutrients required for a plant to grow, because the soil does not produce them on its own. Crops are assessed with the help of technology to determine the nutrients that a plant may need to continue healthy growth.  Crop field are also “scouted,” meaning that someone walks through the field and looks for characteristics in the plants and soil that a pesticide or herbicide is needed. Understanding the proper uses of chemicals and herbicides is important to know before spreading false information.

 As you can see, there is more to the story than what Geer has written. It is very important to know the full story before publishing. If Geer, or any of your readers, would like to learn more about the agriculture industry and how we raise crops and livestock, feel free to contact Western’s Agriculture Department.


Mariana Roberts

WIU School of Agriculture Student

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Letter to the Editor