Ravichandran Vanchinathan's picture
GM Pundits say GM Crops are safe and they have valid scientifically established facts to substantiate the safety aspect. Why it doesn't cut ice with the media? Why some of the educated urban elites even in developed nations oppose GM Crop?

A:Expert Answer

It is true that some educated urban elites oppose GMOs, and each person’s opposition may be influenced by different things. For some individuals, ethical or religious values could be impacting their opposition. Others may be skeptical of and distrust "big business" and "corporate agriculture." Others may simply not understand the technology or the practices, causing them to be unsure about the product. While personal factors may influence the opposition, many societal shifts also likely contribute to it. Industrialization, urbanization and innovation have all occurred very rapidly, causing people to become disconnected from new technologies and food production. While many people would have grown their own food several generations ago, less than 2 percent are involved in agricultural production today. Therefore, consumers generally lack a personal experience with food production that can help facilitate their understanding. 
These are great questions that are important to the GMO conversation, and I thank you for asking them. There is an old saying that "consumer perception is reality," and if the consumer perception continues to be one of concern, it is likely that we will continue to see media and political attention directed toward the topic, despite the fact that valid, scientifically established facts substantiate the safety of GMOs.


jacques coughlin's picture

In Europe for example, they take a more cautionary approach to implementing new technologies because of a historical record of numerous (and notorious) new technologies and products that were put on the market, notably in the U.S., only to discover after the fact long term negative effects, unintended consequences or down right deception from the promoters of these new technologies or products. The mentality in the U.S. puts more faith and trust in industry, government and institutions in being honest and doing due diligence PRIOR to putting the next "new" thing on the market. Alas, history demonstrates time and time again that financial gain and arrogance lead people to tout and commercialize new technologies and new products before they have been proven to be safe — safe now and in the future.

Ben Schaefer's picture

The Precautionary Principle is often over used by people when dealing with new science. It’s hard to really blame them, they are scared and what they have often gets them by just fine (for the time being). But if it wasn’t for people like Ford, the Wright Bros, Edison, Einstein, that took many leaps in what they could create and do, where would we be now? Still riding horses? Using lanterns? Definitely not having these discussions online!
As for the media, I don’t think anyone can argue that they latch on to anything that is sensational. You don’t sell more copies than the next guy by running articles that say,
“GMO crops no different than other crops” or
“Everyone still healthy. No changes”
As proof to that, here is a quote from the facebook page of something that you may think sounds like a good site out to health the world and been environmentally conscious.
Sustainable Pulse
“BTW- All PR is good good PR- so even if some of our extreme pics are not technically correct – we have an aim and we will achieve it – as we already have with EFSA”

Joseph Najjar's picture

Here is a study, recently out of the EU:


I assume they are the " educated, urban elites in developed nations". Also, take a look at the public review tab at the top of this page. The map shows that the EU has accepted these technologies more recently. The only areas that still oppose it are parts of Africa and the Middle East, not exactly known to be on the progressive side of intellectual discovery.

Joseph Najjar's picture

Like with any other new technology, the general public may not immediately understand the hard science behind it, or the full extent to which it can be applied. The media is certainly no exception, in fact they tend to exasperate situations. You will find many people making grand, broad statements, without ever getting into specifics. Science rarely works in such absolutes. The media has to make generalizations because they dont have the background knowledge to speak intelligently about a single case. This also leads to accidental spreads of misinformation, when they try to relate ideas that they dont have full command over

Joseph Najjar's picture

Jacques, if it makes you feel any better, the paper I posted above came out of Italy, so it appears Europe is on board with these new technologies as well.