bendywot's picture
If you are truly interested in opening the discussion, agree to full disclosure of any genetically modified ingredients in foods, or seeds. Why not?

A:Expert Answer

This and related questions about labeling are great questions. We are often accused of being against labeling.  We are not.

 

Let’s address seed labeling first. We support farmers’ right to choose the seeds that are the best fit for their individual farms. The individual GM seed products sold by our companies (we sell conventional and organic seeds, too) are clearly identified as containing GM traits, and farmers choose and are aware of the type of product they are buying.  They even enter into a contract and pay a premium if they choose to buy GM seed. Our hope is that efforts such as GMO Answers will help to provide information about GM seeds to interested consumers.

 

With regard to food labeling, although we do not sell food products directly to consumers, we support food companies’ decisions to voluntarily label food products for the presence or absence of GMOs, based on their customers’ choices.  This type of marketing claim is often used to promote one type of product over another and is unrelated to health or safety. Some companies have opted to use voluntary label, such as “USDA Organic,” for their customers who choose food that is not made with GM ingredients.

 

This image, provided by DuPont Pioneer, is one example of the detailed labeling on Pioneer Brand seed bags. Seed packaging and label language differ by country, type of seed, specific seed characteristics (e.g., biotech traits) and more.

 

We do support mandatory labeling of food, including GM food, if such food presents a safety risk to a certain population―for example, those allergic to a food ingredient.  But there has never been any evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods. There are hundreds of independent studies that demonstrate this (check out independent studies at Biofortified), in addition to the determinations from scientific and regulatory authorities around the world that GM foods on the market are as safe and nutritious as their non-GM counterparts (see FDA information here). A few studies have asserted that such a risk exists, but each of these studies has been found not to be credible, essentially “debunked” by the global scientific community. 

 

Examples can be found here:

 

Comments

spizwink's picture

The whole premise of this website is rather creepy - designed to convince people that GMO's are okay. Shouldn't GMO's speak for themselves? If they are so fantastic, why are they being banned around the world by an ever-growing list of nations. I'll tell you why I think you're doing what you're doing on this website. By spinning GMO's as the best thing since sliced bread, you're hoping people will give up the fight. They will get so frustrated with the arguments pro and con that your side will win simply by preseverance. It's obvious that you're spending huge bucks on this fiasco by the number of "experts" you have enlisted. Why should you do that? It seems absurd to try and stop the tide of anti-GMO. Let's hope the human race can outlast you.

Awakeaboutgmo's picture

No worries there the human race will outlast and will defeat this beast of a corporation.

wholetruth's picture

Dear Dr. Enright,
I respect your credentials as a scientist. What I do not understand is this: clearly there are many other respectable scientists who disagree with you about safety - or lack thereof - of GMOs; so why not let consumers decide for themselves about GMOs, by providing mandatory labeling? For example, David Suzuki, PhD, is a famed geneticist (and a member of the Order Of Canada, a very rare honor). He says: "Any politician or scientist who tells you that these [GMO] products are safe is either very stupid or lying." You and he disagree; both are credentialed scientists. Let us hear both of you and make our choice. Aren't you assuming that the public is incapable of reaching an intelligent decision when presented with the facts? I just read that 93% of Americans polled want GMO food labeled as such. It seems you are doing your own side a disservice by opposing the public's will. No one is going to want to listen to whatever valid points you might have.

Kevin Folta's picture

Dear Wholetruth,

When critics of biotech try to support their point they reach for Suzuki. I LOVED Suzuki's textbooks and appreciated his television shows. However, in recent times he has taken several stances that are inconsistent with the scientific consensus. His views on GMO are quite disturbing for someone that knows genetics and molecular biology as he does. It suggests some other type of agenda.

As a scientist in that area, by his estimation the National Academies of Science, most of which have equivalent or better academic records than he does, is composed of stupid liars. They clearly have come out stating that GM crops pose no particular risks compared to conventionally bred crops.

I'd recommend talking to a dozen scientists. Call a plant science department at a university. Pick one. U Wisconsin, Cornell, UC Davis, U Florida... ask any faculty member what they think. Out of the ten thousand plant scientists in the USA alone you will close to zero that share Suzuki's opinion.

Kevin Folta's picture

Spizwink.. The job of this site is not to "convince people that GMO's are okay". The goal is to provide scientific information to educate the public, and hopefully counter the copious disinformation, fabrication and distorted truth used by biotech critics.

As one of their "experts", I am sort of an expert. I've studied this for 25 years. They aren't paying me a cent for my input. I'm dedicated to communicating sound information and educating on important scientific topics.

Check on that "banned .. by an ever-growing list". You see GM corn planted in the EU now and trials in a half-dozen countries there. Most importantly, you'll find that bans are political and fear-based. If you talk to scientists in the EU or other countries where the crops are prohibited, they can't believe their governments make such policy. It is inconsistent with the science.

If you'd like to email a few scientists there I'd be happy to give you their email addresses. Some sit on biosafety committees and can give you a much better read of the EU pulse than I can. Contact me any time if you have questions.

Chris123's picture

For true answers:
Evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops: www.gmo-news.com/2013/07/gmo-myths-and-truths/

as pdf download.

SaveMyFood's picture

Kevin Folta,

I don't think a lot of people understand that the immediate concern - forgetting for a moment the long term effects of cross-pollination with "conventional"/organic crops - should be with the massive amounts of Roundup being sprayed on their food. Are you willing to put your reputation on the line and say that EVERY CHEMICAL in Roundup is safe for consumption by mammals? Every lipid soluble toxin that will end up in our bodies, either by direct consumption of GM foods or via the fat of GM grain fed livestock, is ok and poses no threat to our health? That's the real issue that should be discussed and researched. The plant without the Roundup is most likely safe, as everyone working for Monsanto seems to say. How about when it has been soaked in Roundup? Is that variable introduced in studies on GM crop safety? If so, were the increased amounts of glyphosate introduced?

Cornlover's picture

Savemyfood you must have never sprayed Roundup.Its not cheap you mist it on you don't soak the plant.It only takes one little drop to do the job and you spay early on not late in the cycle.

WillingToListen's picture

@spizwink - I think the purpose of this site is to educate and dispel myths that are running rampant online. If you ask people outside of your anti-GMO circle about GMOs (as I have), they generally have no clue. What is wrong with the industries trying to educate? Those against GMOs have a TON of websites trying to influence the public.

wholetruth's picture

Kevin,
How disingenuous of you! Of course there are many reputable scientists who conclude GMOs are unsafe, and you know it! They are all over the world. To cite just a very few, following are the names of nine scientists who were plaintiffs in a law suit against FDA policy on genetically engineered foods:

Dr. Richard Strohman, Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written extensively on biotechnology issues.

Dr. Philip J. Regal, Professor of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution at the University of Minnesota. Among the nation's most distinguished plant biologists. Has written extensively on the genetic engineering of plants and the ecological and human health risks associated with it.

Dr. John Fagan, Professor of Molecular Biology at Maharishi University of Management. Recipient of Research Career Development Award from the National Cancer Institute. Has written extensively on the hazards of genetic engineering. Gained world-wide attention in 1994 when he returned a $613,000 grant to the NIH as an ethical stand against genetic engineering.

Dr. Liebe Cavalieri, Molecular Biologist, Professor, Division of Natural Sciences, State University of New York at Purchase. Has written extensively on biotechnology issues.

Dr. David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology, Rutgers University. Has written on the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

Dr. David Fankhauser, Professor of Biology and Chemistry, University of Cincinnati.

Hanif Khalak, Computational Biologist, The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, MD. Though he does research that facilitates applications of biotechnology for curing human disease, he thinks that the current applications of biotech in food production are based in scientifically flawed assumptions.

Dr. Gary Kaplan, MD, PhD, Director of Clinical Neurophysiology, North Shore University Hospital; Assoc. Professor of Clinical Neurology, NYU School of Medicine.

Dr. Rama Dwivedi, Associate Director, Targeted Mutagenics, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School. Although he performs biotechnology for medical purposes, he believes that the program to genetically reconfigure food organisms, as currently conducted, is unsound.

And scientists against GMOs are around the world. Biologist Alexey V. Surov at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security is one. After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results in his study.

Yes, there are also many scientists who give a green light on GMOs. And who funds their universities? Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, Cargill? Even those scientists not directly funded by these companies still have a stake in maintaining the status quo of the scientific establishment. Can the scientific establishment be relied upon for safe guidance? Weren't they the ones who told us tobacco smoking was safe? DDT? Thalidomide? Asbestos? Granted, there are also reputable scientists who may be little influenced by such factors. Fine. They have a view that may be right. But it may be wrong, and with potentially catastrophic consequences for anyone who eats food.

Which brings me to the point you essentially ignored in your comment on my posting: There is sufficient intelligent disagreement on the safety of GMOs to at least give the public the right to know if their food is genetically modified.

labelGMOs's picture

If GMO companies are not against labeling, then why did Monsanto alone spend $8 million dollars to help kill prop 37 in California last November.

These people are all heartless liars

Cathleen Enright's picture

Dear labelGMOs,
While we do not sell food products directly to consumers, including the food products that would have been required to be labeled if Prop 37 had passed--we opposed Prop 37 because it assailed a technology we believe in, as I have described elsewhere. Sure, it's a technology we have invested in, but it's so much more. It's a technology that has and will continue to enable farmers to make, in a single season, multi-year gains in productivity. We saw this in corn last year during the drought. As a global community we will need all tools to realize this level of productivity in the face of a burgeoning global population and increasingly extreme weather.