Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Word About Comments

Whenever I post about GMOs, I usually get comments saying there's nothing wrong with GMOs and that anyone who questions their safety is some kind of Luddite (to use one of the nicer words).

As everyone knows, there have been hardly any long-term studies on GMOs or studies done on humans. Almost all of the studies that have been done, or that the public knows about, have been done by the biotech companies, not by independent researchers.*

I'm not willing to give a forum to biotech defenders on my blog. Biotech companies have plenty of outlets for their propaganda already. This is a personal blog, it's not commercial, I don't benefit from it in any other way except that it brings me joy.

* From my post Genetically Modified Potatoes Damage Rat Intestine, The Pusztai Affair and The Stranglehold Biotech Firms Have On Research
If genetically engineered foods are indeed safe to consume, why isn't evidence of this safety pursued in independent research and itself used to discredit anti-GMO activists? One reason is that big agribusiness firms like Monsanto and BASF and Syngenta have prohibited this research. Here's a statement* from 26 university crop scientists sent to the EPA in 2009 describing their inability to conduct research on GMOs:
"Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry. As a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology, its performance, its management implications, IRM, and its interactions with insect biology. Consequently, data flowing to an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel from the public sector is unduly limited."
* Picked up by the New York Times here, and by Scientific American here.

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