A new educational resource on agricultural biotechnology has been released by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. “Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding, 3rd Edition,” will provide health professionals and food and nutrition stakeholders with tools to help them communicate about the science and benefits of food biotech.
“Whether it is to provide an overview of the science or respond to a media inquiry, the guide provides communicators with key facts and resources on food biotechnology to help tailor the message to the specific audience,” IFIC said.
The guide includes key messages and a menu of science-based supporting points on food biotechnology as it relates to food safety, consumer benefits, sustainability, and feeding the world; ready-made handouts that can be shared with audiences; and guidelines for working effectively with journalists and bloggers on food biotechnology stories.
The new version reflects the latest developments in food biotechnology research, regulation, and product availability, as well as new consumer insights and changing communications methods, most notably the advent of online media.
An electronic version of the full guide and PDF files of the individual chapters are available here. The PowerPoint slides are also available on the homepage of www.whybiotech.com.
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.
A widely-criticized study by a French team claiming that genetically modified corn caused laboratory rats to develop tumors has been thoroughly rebutted by an agency of the German government, which said the “study” is full of holes and reaches conclusions that are not supported by the data, which the agency said was inadequate and badly presented.
“The study shows both shortcomings in study design and in the presentation of the collected data,” said Professor Dr. Reiner Wittkowski, vice president of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BFR), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). The agency advises the German federal government and state governments on questions of food, chemical and product safety. “This means that the conclusions drawn by the authors are not supported by the available data,” Wittkowski said. READ MORE »
After a five-year study, the Swiss National Science Foundation has reported to the Swiss government that it can find “no danger” to human health or the environment in the use of genetically engineered crops.
“Two literature reviews…analyzed more than a thousand scientific publications worldwide,” said a news release from the Swiss National Science Foundation. “They concluded that there is no danger to human health or the environment in the light of the latest scientific knowledge.”
Eleven research projects exploring the possible environmental risks of genetically modified wheat, maize and strawberries, came to the same conclusion, the Foundation reported: “They could not identify any negative impacts on beneficial organisms, microorganisms or soil fertility.”
Switzerland is debating whether to end a moratorium on agricultural biotechnology. Swiss farmers raise a wide variety of crops on mostly small-scale farms in addition to the nation’s famous dairy industry, which relies on crops grown for feed.
“It is almost impossible to distinguish between newer genetically modified plants and conventionally grown plants,” the scientists added. “Hence treating genetically modified plants differently is becoming increasingly questionable in scientific terms.” Read more.
Confirming the safety of biotech crops, research by Europe’s top food safety regulators concluded a strain of genetically modified (GM) maize has no negative effects on human health or the environment.
The biotechnology panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said it “did not identify adverse effects on the environment or human and animal health” during the 2010 growing season from the biotech corn. The panel reported that the study is consistent with its previous scientific opinions on the safety of the crop and its recommendations on risk management.
EFSA published the findings based on an analysis of GM maize produced in 2010, Food Navigator news reports. In 2008, EFSA scientists reached the same conclusion supporting the safety of the strain of GM maize.
EFSA is a leading authority on food safety risk assessment that provides independent scientific advice for the European Union’s food supply. Read the full EFSA scientific opinion here.