spallod's picture
Should Monsanto allow an antiGMO organization to conduct a thirdparty audit to get rid of the allegations?

A:Expert Answer

Thank you for your question. The robust regulatory systems in place around the globe provide a form of “third party audit” of the safety of our products; one that is ongoing, extremely rigorous and conducted by experts in the field. In addition, there are many independent studies available to the public and we are committed to transparently answering questions regarding our products, through sites like this one and in many other forums. Please visit these links to find hundreds of studies on GMOs performed by independent scientists and organizations: Biology Fortified, “A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research”, and the 2016 review performed by National Academy of Sciences addressing this very topic.

 

Some countries (like the U.S.) have more than one agency that reviews our data. For example, for an insect-protected GMO, the U.S. FDA, EPA and USDA will all review data. Additionally, almost every agency that grants approval of a new GM crop, whether for cultivation or import, includes a public comment period (e.g., EPA, USDA, Japan MAFF, FSANZ, and also EFSA) - all comments are reviewed and substantive comments are responded to by regulators. In this way anti-GMO groups are able to weigh in on company product submissions.

 

As part of the regulatory oversight, agencies, such as the EPA, can audit our data or inspect our facilities upon very short notice and they routinely do! Monsanto is required by law to provide copies of various records and data to support product registrations, and EPA personnel typically also inspect our facilities, as well as any other laboratory or facility (called a contract research organization – CRO) that performs work or generates data on our behalf. The EPA Good Laboratory Practice Standards (GLPs), 40 CFR Part 160, are the Federal Regulations that companies in this industry must comply with in order to gain approval and maintain registration for products which are regulated by the EPA…this might get a little technical but it is good information. Additionally, the regulations require companies to have an independent Quality Assurance Unit that performs internal as well as CRO audits and inspections.

 

Most regulatory approvals are granted for a defined period of time, and agencies routinely review new information to ensure the product continues to meet the standards for approval. As you can see, a lot of checks and balances, with a great deal of third-party oversight, are built into the regulatory process.

 

We recognize that we haven't done the best job of communicating with consumers in the past-- we were primarily focused on speaking with farmers (our customers) and not the everyday shoppers in the grocery aisle. Today, one of our goals is to be more open and transparent about who we are, what we do and why we do it. We invite you to continue to research our company and industry on sites such as Discover.Monsanto.com , GMOAnswers.com, Monsanto’s Innovations page for information about what we’re doing to help advancements in all areas of ag and our recent launch of Technical Community of Monsanto LinkedIn page where we will feature technical content about our company, products and the scientists that make it happen!