European scientists and food safety experts drove the final nail in the coffin on the controversial Séralini rat study this week, finding that it finding that it “does not meet acceptable scientific standards” and raises no valid questions about the safety of genetically modified corn.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) presented a final statement on Wednesday that reaffirmed its initial assessment that “the authors’ conclusions cannot be regarded as scientifically sound because of inadequacies in the design, reporting and analysis of the study as outlined in the paper.”
EFSA noted the emergence of a broad European consensus, as each of the six assessments conducted independently by member states had determined that Séralini’s conclusions regarding the safety of GM corn were not supported by the data presented in the study. Read more.
Physician and molecular biologist Henry I. Miller cautioned India against stifling the cultivation of biotech crops, pointing out that India has already reaped significant economic and environmental benefits by using the technology. “Following the adoption of the genetically improved varieties and intensive crop management practices of the Green Revolution, from 1960 to 2000 India’s wheat yields increased more than three-fold,” he stated.
“During the past decade, widespread adoption of an insect-resistant, genetically engineered crop called Bt-cotton has drastically reduced the use of chemical pesticides in cotton fields, enhanced food security and improved farmers’ bottom line,” he noted in The Wall Street Journal. Miller, who is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, added that economists Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot estimate that the pest-resistant Bt-cotton boosted India’s economy by $9.4 billion between 2002 and 2010 and by $2.5 billion in 2010 alone. Read more.
Biotechnology is a fundamental part of the innovation in agriculture that has made America a breadbasket to the world, experts say.
“We’re a very productive country,” says Dr. Thomas Carter, research geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. “We are a breadbasket for the world…we’re seeing greater technological innovation, from the lab to the field.”
Thanks to modern farming techniques, America’s farmers are producing more food than ever before on fewer acres. Among recent innovations in agriculture is the use of seeds improved with biotechnology - using scientific research to enhance the plant’s ability to resist harmful pests, more effectively utilize water, and allow the farmer to control weeds more efficiently.
“Continued research and breeding, including the use of biotechnology, is essential in developing varieties that can survive and sustain economic yields despite seasonal droughts and higher temperatures we expect in the future,” says Dr. Kent Bradford, professor and director of the Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California, Davis. Read more.
The Council for Biotechnology Information was part of a large coalition of California family farmers, doctors, scientists, food producers, grocers, small business and taxpayer groups that was formed to defeat Proposition 37. We opposed Prop 37 because this poorly-written measure would have mandated that misleading and confusing information be provided to consumers. In addition, it would have unnecessarily increased food costs for California consumers and would have spawned frivolous lawsuits against farmers, grocers and food companies.
California voters have rejected this poorly written and costly measure. In doing so, they expressed their support for science and reason-based policy. Prop 37 was a poorly-written mandate, aimed at disparaging one production method in favor of others. The voters were right to reject it.
We continue to support the FDA’s food labeling policy, which is that labeling should be used to indicate “any significant differences in the food itself.” The FDA says it has no information to indicate that bioengineered food crops are different “in any meaningful or material way” from their conventionally produced counterparts.
The industry will continue to move forward with developing innovations to feed and fuel the world.