Many groups and individuals opposed to the use of biotechnology to produce food have spread misinformation to create fear, which has led to anecdotal reports of the types of claims you describe. Many studies have tried to replicate the types of harm described in claims that have fueled such misinformation, but no credible scientific bodies could confirm the alleged harms. A recent example is an article that The Food and Chemical Toxicology journal retracted in early December 2013, based on a French study that claimed rats could develop tumors if exposed to the herbicide glyphosate used in genetically modified corn. The study led to much sensational media coverage but could not survive scientific scrutiny.
This is a multi-faceted question, so I’m going to break this down into several bullets to try to address all of your points.
- Monsanto breeds and sells both GM and conventional seeds to our farmer customers, and we support their right to choose the seeds that are the best fit for their individual farms. Individual seed products are clearly identified as containing GM traits where appropriate, and farmers choose and are aware of the type of product they are buying.
- Although Monsanto doesn’t sell food or have products that can be labeled for consumers, we support food companies’ choices to voluntarily label food products, noting certain attributes (e.g., organic or GMO-free), based on their customers’ preferences and provided the labeling is truthful and not misleading. We support FDA’s safety-based approach to labeling, which does not require special labeling of food containing ingredients derived from GM crops, because there is no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed with the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed with traditional plant breeding. The American Medical Association (AMA) supports FDA’s approach and approved a formal statement asserting that there is no scientific justification for special labeling of foods containing GM ingredients.
- We are committed to answering people’s questions about GMOs, which is why we are one of several companies supporting the GMO Answers initiative. We also are an active supporter of a lot of different education and outreach programs on agriculture in general, as well as biotech. And we provide a lot of information about our business and our products on our website for people who are interested in learning more: www.monsanto.com.
- It might be surprising to people who are not familiar with our business, but we are 100 percent focused on supporting agriculture and believe that all types of farming practices—GM, conventional and organic—are valuable. Our farmer-customers include farm families with both small and large farms, as well as families who use GM, conventional and organic farming practices.