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Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman Joins Center for Food Safety as Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Scientist

June 16, 2014

Former EPA Scientist Returns to Center for Food Safety to Strengthen its Science Team, Seeks to Spotlight Developments in Sustainable Agriculture 

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of Center for Food Safety (CFS), today announced a new partnership with Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman. Dr. Gurian-Sherman will return to CFS as Senior Scientist and Director of Sustainable Agriculture. Dr. Gurian-Sherman will be based in the Washington D.C. office, but he will oversee scientific research and programs covering CFS issue areas nationwide. The announcement comes during a period of growth for both the food movement and Center for Food Safety, which is well known for its legal work. CFS recently opened its fourth office, in Honolulu, and its membership has surpassed 500,000.

“In recent years, I have watched the food movement grow in size and political power across the country. Center for Food Safety has been a constant leader providing legal guidance and scientific expertise to develop our passions into a sophisticated movement. I am pleased to return to Center for Food Safety to coordinate our scientific programs,” said Dr. Gurian-Sherman.

“Dr. Gurian-Sherman is returning to Center for Food Safety at a time of urgent need. American farmers are facing new threats like global climate change, drought, and 'super weeds'.  We urgently need to consider alternatives to the industrial agricultural system to revitalize the soil, our water and our local farming communities. There is no better scientist who can oversee the diversity of programs at Center for Food Safety, and we are glad to welcome our friend back to our offices,” said Kimbrell.

Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman previously served as Senior Scientist at Center for Food Safety from 2004-2006. He is a respected scientist and author of dozens of articles, papers and reports. He is frequently cited in both academic research and in mainstream media.

At Center for Food Safety, Dr. Gurian-Sherman will expand scientific programs and assess research in important areas of sustainable and industrial agricultural including: Animal factories (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), soil, agroecology, public breeding, equitable food systems, and genetic engineering. In previous positions, Dr. Gurian-Sherman has been known for his work examining the impacts of genetic engineering, CAFOs, and agroecology. (For example, he is the author of the landmark Union of Concerned Scientists report Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.)  At Center for Food Safety, Dr. Gurian-Sherman's research on genetic engineering will primarily focus on GE's impact on the goals of sustainable agriculture. 

“There is a critical need to provide a science framework for our food production system. We cannot continue to farm using unsustainable industrial methods that waste scarce resources and degrade our environment and food quality, threaten pollinators and other beneficial insects, and contribute to climate change,” added Dr. Gurian-Sherman. “At CFS, I will focus my efforts on farming based on the science of ecology—or agroecology—that can go a long way toward solving the problems created by industrial agriculture. This system is also productive, profitable, and better for rural communities. Although supported by years of research, the public has not been aware of the promise of an ecology-based farming system.”

Dr. Gurian-Sherman was the founding co-director and science director for the biotechnology project at the Center for Science and the Public Interest. He has served as senior scientist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Previously, Dr. Gurian-Sherman worked at the Environmental Protection Agency where he examined the human health impacts and environmental risk of genetically engineered plants. He also worked in the Biotechnology Group at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and he served on the Food and Drug Administration’s inaugural advisory food biotechnology subcommittee.

Dr. Gurian-Sherman earned his doctorate degree in plant pathology from the University of California Berkeley. He conducted post-doctoral research on rice and wheat molecular biology at the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Albany, California.