In a Forbes Science Business blog, Steven Salzberg debunks misconceptions about the safety of GMO foods. He points out that those who are “terrified” of GMO foods “don’t seem to realize that we’ve been modifying the genes in our foods for centuries, and it’s generally been a good thing.” Mr. Salzberg makes a comparison between the earliest corn cobs discovered by archaeologists and modern corn (pictured here) to demonstrate that GMO crops have been around for a long time, even though farmers were likely unaware of it. He concludes with the reassurance that, “you’re far more likely to be harmed by being hit on the head by a corn cob than by some kind of deviant GMO corn gene.” Read More.
No health problems reported for GMO Foods
In a Huffington Post article analyzing the safety of GMOs, freelance science and policy writer Paul Tullis illustrates the widespread growth of the crops in the US: “Eighty percent of the 86 million acres of corn planted in the United States today-as well as 92 percent of the soy, and a good deal of the squash tomatoes, potatoes, canola and a host of other crops-comes from genetically engineered, or ‘GE,’ seed.” Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture of BIO Sharon Bomer Lauritsen says, “Foods derived from biotechnology have been eaten by billions of people without a single documented health problem.” Read More.
This month the European Commission released the results from a ten-year study that examined the environmental, health and social impacts of GMOs. The study finds that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, pose no more health or environmental risks than conventionally bred crops. In addition, the report states that we must not overlook GMOs in our efforts to address the challenges of the 21st century, including a growing population, a changing climate and limited fossil fuel resources.
The publication presents the results of 50 projects, involving more than 400 research groups and representing European Union research grants of 200M Euros (approximately $300 million). The publication builds on a report released by the commission in 2001 that studied the impacts of GMOs for fifteen years.
The European Commission writes in the foreword to the report that “biotechnology is not a purely academic exercise: its findings and developments will lead to applications and products essential to society.” You can read the full report here.
GM Seeds Raise Incomes and Increase Yields in Africa
An article by Voice of America discusses studies showing that genetically modified crops help Africa to overcome poverty and hunger. It points out that in the book, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Harvard University Professor Calestous Juma “proposes that biotech seeds could dramatically increase yield and raise incomes.” Juma joins other genetic engineering proponents like Margaret Karembu, Director of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application’s AgriCenter (ISAAA) in Nairobi, who finds that biotech agriculture reduces harmful insecticides, increases yields and raises incomes in countries like South Africa and Burkina Faso.
Author Voices Benefits of Biotechnology on Fox News GM Food Debate
In a Fox News interview with John Stossel, Gregory Conko, co-author of The Frankenfood Myth, says that modern biotechnology “allows for much safer food.” Mr. Conko points out that “if you’ve eaten food in, say, over the last ten thousand years, you’ve eaten something that farmers or plant breeders have intentionally modified at the genetic level.” He explains that ag technology makes it possible to be more precise by identifying “the changes that are made in the genetic structure of an organism.”
Former USDA Chief Scientist Recommends GM Crops for President’s Plan
According to Scientific American, former U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Gale A. Buchanan highly recommends that President Obama incorporate genetically modified crops into his plans to improve global energy productivity and food security. In the article, Buchanan states that “any ‘real, revolutionary’ impact” of the president’s so-called Evergreen Revolution depends on taking advantage of the benefits of GM crops. “The world has got to accept genetically modified plants because not to is to fail to acknowledge one of the most important discoveries of the 21st century,” Buchanan said.
On Tuesday Dr. Pamela Ronald appeared as guest expert on the nationally-syndicated “Dr. Oz Show.” While we were thrilled with the opportunity to present the facts about the safety of GMOs to a large audience, we were disheartened to find the show’s editorial bias overshadowed sound scientific fact. Much of what Pamela said was edited out. Please watch the segment here.
We are pleased that many members of the scientific community, farmers and other ag biotech supporters have chosen to write letters to the producers of “The Dr. Oz Show” expressing their concern with the misinformation presented on the program about GMOs.
Dr. Terry Etherton, Department Head & Distinguished Professor of Animal Nutrition in the Department of Dairy & Animal Science at Pennsylvania State University, wrote the following letter to the producer to express his disappointment and to encourage a future segment on GMOs that presents fact, not fiction.
Please also consider writing a similar letter to the producer (contact information below) to communicate your dissatisfaction with the program’s unscientific representation of GMOs.
Ms. Rosalyn Menon Producer
The Dr. Oz Show 30 Rockefeller Plaza - 43rd floor New York, NY 10112 firstname.lastname@example.org
As you recall, you had invited me to participate on the Dr. Oz Show to speak about GMOs, and the scientific evidence that supports their efficacy and safety.Because of prior schedule commitments, I was not able to participate.
The purpose of my letter is to comment on the Dr. Oz Show episode that aired December 7, 2010 (Dr. Oz Investigates: Genetically Modified Food).I value the effort made by the show’s producers to educate the audience on this important topic; however, I was stunned at the amount of misinformation that was included in the segment.
Hawaii News Now reports on Hawaii’s first Biotech Summit and the success of the Rainbow Papaya, a genetically engineered papaya that can withstand the ringspot virus and saved the Hawaii papaya industry from devastation.