UMCAlumFarmBoy79's picture
Why is there such a strong opposition to genetic modification when theres been NUMEROUS studies proving that there is nothing wrong with them? Is this just a phase?

A:Expert Answer

 

This is a great question. You might be interested in the book chapter, “Why GMO Myths Are So Appealing and Powerful,” by Cami Ryan, research associate at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. The book chapter can be accessed online here: https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/380524/71/the-lowdown-on-gmos-according-to-science. An excerpt is below:

 

“Recently, an executive with a biotech trade group asserted in an interview that it wasn’t too late to win the hearts and minds of consumers suspicious of genetically modified foods (131). Biotech advocates just need to do a better job of explaining the technology and its benefits. The headline for the piece read:

 

“‘It’s not too late to change the conversation on GMOs.’

“While I admire this optimism and agree that we should continue to engage in conversations about GMOs, there are certain present-day realities that constrain our efforts to find common ground on this very controversial topic.


“At the top of this list is the sheer amount of information we are inundated with every day. Many of us are tapped into mobile technology. We are referred to as ‘just in time’ users (Rainie and Fox 2012). We account for 62% of the entire adult population who often look to online sources and online social networks for information. Anti-GMO interest groups have successfully leveraged these networks to disseminate misinformation and influence public opinion. Using carefully crafted words (frankenfoods!) (132) and images (syringes in tomatoes) (133), they create myths—GM corn causes cancer, (134) fish genes have been forced into tomatoes (135) or GM corn kills the larvae of monarch butterflies (136)—that tap into people’s fears about genetic engineering…”

 

This chapter is part of the book The Lowdown on GMOs: According to Science, available online in its entirety here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380524. If you have any additional questions, please ask.

 

Comments

Joseph Najjar's picture

The issue stems from the simple fact that this modern plant breeding is a multidisciplinary field. That basically means you need a pretty solid understanding of a few different fields and topics in order to make informed decisions within this industry. Frankly, there are not too many people within the general public who could pick up a peer-reviewed journal, speaking about a particular mechanism or pathway being affected by genetic modification, and follow it clearly. The amount of misinformation available on GMOs is staggering, it can be very difficult for someone not educated in the hard sciences to spot the truths among the lies. People also like to think that the industry as a whole is "out to get them" and will typically say those studies cant be trusted....Some people simply wont listen to reason and logic. It is a phase, in the sense that eventually people will accept this technology as safe, but that will only be when the public is properly educated. That is why I am thrilled to see this site come online, the need for transparency between our industry and the public has never been more important.

Community Manager's picture

Thanks for your question. While we source a response, you may be interested in reading a chapter of the book The Lowdown on GMOs According to Science, by Fourat Janabi. Cami Ryan, Research Associate, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, authored a chapter titled, "Why GMO Myths are so Appealing and Powerful," which addresses the topics raised in your question. The book is available for download here: https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/380524/1/the-lowdown-on-gmos-a...

Joseph Najjar's picture

I checked the book out, via your link. Wealth of information in one place! Thank you for posting it

biegt27's picture

This question alone makes it blatantly obvious that this website has been created by the industry itself and is being used as a disinformation site. I'm sure my comment will be deleted, but the truth cannot be suppressed forever. More and more countries are banning GMO's. The end of GMO's is at hand.

UMCAlumFarmBoy79's picture

Since you seem so well acknowledged on the subject, why not post some references to back your substantial claims.

Actually, let me debunk you. There is only 1 country in the world that has banned GMOs entirely. More countries have restrictions on them, and even more just need to seek approval before they decide to incorporate them into their country's agricultural practices. Most of them have restrictions for economic and political reasons, not scientific. What do I mean by this? Most countries don't want a different country's products being sold in their country. They are wanting their own independence from certain markets. Just saying, many more countries have banned homosexuality, that doesn't necessarily make it right.

The end of GMOs is at hand? How? We've been modifying crops since the dawn of agriculture (approx. 10,000 years ago). There is almost no crop today that you'd find in its natural state. You'll say selective breeding is different that genetic modification, but how so? It's the change of that crop's genome that makes these changes. Today's modern genetic modification processes are many times more precise than selective breeding, which requires many times more trial and error to get the desired crops. Genetic modification doesn't just include herbicide resistance*, either. It also includes drought and flood tolerance, disease resistance, insect resistance, vitamin/nutrient enhancements, and even potentially allergen removal. You want to rob people of the freedom of eating a peanut butter sandwich without worrying about a trip to the ER or death?

If you received your information from sites like Natural News, Mercola, GMO-Free USA, The Healthy Home Economist, Collective Evolution, IRT, et al, I am sorry to say you have been organically deluded. If they were really "whistleblower" sites as they claim and we are under a secret government conspiracy, wouldn't those sites be torn down for revealing the "secrets?"

*If you are worried about Roundup Ready crops, just to warn you, you should worry more about the salt content on your snacks. Common table salt (NaCl) has a higher toxicity than Roundup (Glyphosate).

Community Manager's picture

Hi biegt27 and UMCAlumFarmBoy79, thanks for contributing to the discussion! You can find more information about GMO Answers at http://www.gmoanswers.com/about. Our hope is to make information about GMOs easier to find, analyze and experience. GMO Answers is a community focused on a constructive conversation about GMOs and plant biotechnology in agriculture. Please feel free to check out our House Rules at http://www.gmoanswers.com/house-rules. We look forward to your continued participation on this site!