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New report is an ‘opportunity to put confusion behind us’ in the GM debate

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By Nathan Gray+

22-Jan-2013
Last updated the 22-Jan-2013 at 13:53 GMT

New report an ‘opportunity to put confusion behind us’ in GM debate

The publication of a new report on GM foods is an opportunity for industry, consumers, and policy makers to put aside the confusion of the past and ‘take a fresh look’ at the evidence for GM safety, according to EuropaBio and the ABC.

European biotechnology body EuropaBio has published a new report on GM crops and foods. The report, called ‘Science Not Fiction: Time to think again about GM’ calls for a rational, fact-based debate on crop technologies using scientific data and years of experience in the field.

“Highly complex new science can rarely be explained in a soundbite, and this can be frustrating to the public and scientists alike,” writes George Lyon, Member of European Parliament (MEP) in the reports foreword.  

“GM technology is a confusing topic that needs to be explained better,” said Lyon. “This guide aims to look at the reality of crop science, explode some of the myths around GM and recognise the growing support from high-profile development and sustainability organisations; from the WHO to the Gates Foundation.”

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, director of agricultural biotechnology at EuropaBio said it is ‘critical’ that industry, policy makers, scientists and campaigners work to engage with the public “to overcome any misunderstandings related to the technology.”

“We need to help people understand how they and the environment can benefit from including GM in the European farmer’s agricultural toolkit,” she said. “We share this responsibility with those food and feed companies whose products contain GM ingredients, and with national and European authorities who need to play a bigger role in public communications.”

Imaginary risk?

The document, which is found here, was welcomed by industry body the Agricultural Biotechnology Council(ABC), with Dr Julian Little, ABC chair reaffirming the science and safety of GM foods and crops.

“Over the past decade, anti-science campaigners have used scaremongering claims to try and dominate the coverage of advances in agricultural technology,” said Little.

“Scientists and farmers have been frustrated that the massive contribution to global agriculture of advances in biotechnology has been overshadowed by media stunts and unscientific claims about the supposed risks of GM crops,” he said. “In fact, nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health.”

Du Marchie Sarvaas added: “The amazing thing is that people harbour fears about GM crops, but don’t know why they have these opinions.”

“By revisiting the origins of the debate we hope to enable people to review their perspectives in the light of what we know today.”

George Freeman UK Member of Parliament and chair of the All Party Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, warned that as the ‘environmental and economic benefits’ of genetically modified crops become clearer, “the alleged risks are increasingly seen to be imaginary.”

“It’s time for a fresh look at the mounting evidence that GM crop technology is safe and potentially transformational in helping the most vulnerable around the world to feed and fuel themselves,” said Freeman.

The report can be found by clicking here.

4 comments (Comments are now closed)

Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation

The Europeam Environmental Agency has just released a 750-page or so report, in which serious criticism is expressed about the safety assessments of GM crops by the European Food Safety Authority and national biosafety commissions. In addition, the much promoted benefits of GM crops would not have materialized.

Further, I do not expect that this new report will help to advance the debate. We really need genuine dialogues whose outcomes cannot be predicted. And that takes guts from all parties involved in the debate

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Posted by Piet Schenkelaars
25 January 2013 | 10h18

Corporate Balogney

Anyone who trusts this report needs to get their head checked. Monsanto and the other groups represented by EuropaBio have consistently interfered with independent scientific research on the effects of GM, and now they want to end the conversation before it has even began. Irresponsible and shameful.

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Posted by West County
22 January 2013 | 19h04

ehem...

"nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health." There is no way to trace ill-health back to GMOs because they are not labelled.

The AAEM (The American Academy of Environmental Medecine) has the following to say about GMOs in food:

"With the precautionary principle in mind, because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:
Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks."

Source:http://aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

Oh, and Dr. Little, calling the anti-GMO crowd "anti-science" is bad labeling.

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Posted by Eric Zagon
22 January 2013 | 17h29

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