Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Q:
You said you hired independent experts who have agreed to participate in this forum and respond to consumer questions. Who are those independent experts? And can you attest that there aren't any connections or overlaps of those independent experts to any agriculture organisation or genetic enginering companies or their proponents? If you care about objectivity, balance and transparency will you also hire experts and scientists that have a sceptical view to GMOs to answer us here?
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A:Expert Answer

This is a valid question, and we do intend to be transparent not only regarding our products, but also about how we fund and manage this website.

 

The questions submitted to GMO Answers are answered by independent experts volunteering their time to address consumer questions in their fields of expertise. The pool of experts participating in this forum include conventional and organic farmers, agribusiness experts, nutritionists, medical doctors, academics and scientists from a wide range of disciplines. They are leaders in their fields, respected for their subject matter expertise and their unique insights.

 

Many of the independent experts who volunteer to answer questions on this website work or have worked at universities that have been engaged in research on biotech applications for agriculture―that’s how they became experts. And our companies have provided funding to some of these universities―but they are not at all connected to these experts’ work to help answer questions on this website.

 

In short, the experts are not affiliated with the Council for Biotechnology Information or its member companies but have volunteered to address questions because they believe in transparency and consumers’ rights to make informed choices about the food they eat and serve to their families. You can read more about the independent experts here.

 

In addition to independent experts, company experts also respond to questions submitted to this site―particularly questions that ask about specific business practices and products. When a company expert provides an answer, the company affiliation is clearly listed in his or her biography.

 

A response provided by Kevin Folta, chairman and associate professor in the horticultural sciences department at University of Florida, addresses the point you raise in your final question about engaging those skeptical of GMOs. An excerpt from his response is included below:

 

"I would not call myself 'pro-GMO.' I'm pro-science. Pro-evidence. Like all scientists, I draw conclusions from the peer-reviewed literature, an understanding of plant molecular mechanisms and a knowledge of biology. At this point, that leads me to the conclusion that GM is excellent technology that has strengths and limitations, just like anything else.

 

"The information presented here on GMO Answers is evidence-based, coming from well-constructed studies with reproducible results.

 

"You will find occasional contrasting data and conclusions, but these are typically in lower-impact journals, highly criticized for inadequacies and never reproduced.

 

"In scientific circles, there is no debate―GM technology is safe and effective. Major scientific organizations like the National Academies of Science, American Society for Plant Biology and many others have clear positions on the importance of this technology.

 

"For the purposes of GMO Answers, it would be silly to have science-based facts being countered with activist-inspired opinions."

 

This response exemplifies our rationale for turning to scientists who participate in and respect the peer-review process, which is all about being skeptical. Even after a study is completed, other credentialed scientists have to verify the work was done using proven scientific methodology. 

 

You may also be interested in reading this October 2013 story from NPR about pay-to-play journals publishing so-called “science” for a fee.

 

Also, you can find Bohannon’s article in Science Magazine here.

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