Why Bill Nye Isn't Worried About GMO Foods - Exclusive

Fans of Bill Nye, or "The Science Guy" as he's long been known to those that loved his educational films in the '90s, likely know just how dedicated he is to the movements and institutions he personally believes in. That is, after all, why he teamed up with Dr. Pepper this year to help promote their fundraising efforts so even more kids can go to college to pursue a higher education (per a press release on PR Newswire). 

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Nye talked more about the partnership and some of the other issues that mean so much to him — including GMOs. During the chat, Nye discussed exactly what it was that made him reevaluate his stance on the controversial field of genetically modified foods and why he said is no longer worried about consuming them.

"GMO foods are safe as can be. They are tested and tested," Nye said, adding that, "If you think about [it], you'll realize that farming is not really natural. If humans stop farming, the land goes back to being whatever it was before, a forest or prairie. Same is true for ocean or lake farming," he added of his newfound perspective.

Nye explains why he believes GMO foods aren't inherently bad

Bill Nye confessed that he did once worry that food producers weren't being careful enough with genetically modifying food crops, but as he said, "Farmers have been modifying their crops for thousands of years, mixing pollen from one plant with the egg cells (ova) of another, and selecting seeds for desirable traits." Nye further explained that, after he researched the field further, he discovered, "We are very careful with our crops. In the last 50 years or so, botanists have found ways to speed the process of mixing genes by getting the genes of one organism, like a microbe, to mix its genes with another organism, like corn."

In true "Bill Nye The Science Guy" fashion, he took it a step further and gave a very scientific example to explain even more in depth why he believes GMOs are safe. "One well-known example is Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). It's a bacterium that lives in soil. Gardeners have sprayed Bt mixed with water on plants for decades as a natural pesticide," Nye said, confirming he even uses it in his garden in California. "Researchers found a way to get a piece of the Bt gene to grow with corn," he added. "Those corn plants don't get attacked by the European corn borer insect (an invasive species, by the way). About five years ago, researchers showed that genes move quite naturally from bacteria to plants often." And the end result is important, as he said, "Today, we are able to feed almost 8 billion people around the world, because of the discoveries and techniques used to genetically modify plants."

By making a donation to the Dr Pepper FANraiser, you'll have the chance to win a role in a Dr Pepper commercial (in addition to helping students with their education). And be sure to check out Bill Nye's new book "Bill Nye's Great Big World of Science."