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Cathleen Enright

Former Executive Director of the Council for Biotechnology Information

Expert Bio

Cathy is the executive director of the Council for Biotechnology Information. She is also the executive vice president for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Cathy earned her PhD in Biochemistry and completed her postdoctoral training at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before becoming an agricultural trade and environment negotiator for the federal government in 1995. After her government service, Cathy worked for the produce industry before joining CBI and BIO in 2011. Cathy is a passionate advocate for all of US agriculture, and served on President Obama’s Agricultural Policy Committee in 2008 and again in 2012.

Cathleen Enright is no longer the Executive Director of the Council for Biotechnology Information. Answers and content from Cathleen Enright were provided in her former capacity as Executive Director of the Council at Biotechnology Information.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Why turn to this website? Asking questions here is the same as asking oil companies if fracking is bad. Not that I am for or against fracking but there is no integrity and objectivity in the Oil industry answering the question. You have decided on this

Answered By Cathleen Enright - Jul 31, 2013

A: We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. For those who are interested, we developed this site to enable visitors to find out more about GMOs and―a key difference with this initiative―to facilitate the opportunity to ask their questions of well-respected experts―nutritionists, health providers, scientists and conventional and organic farmers who are freely sharing their knowledge and experience. Other than for space and ease of understanding, the answers will not be edited by us. If there are such edits, the experts always have final review. There is a large amount of misinformation on the Inter [...]

GMOs & Farmers Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: One of the reasons for skepticism of assertions of GMO safety is that any negative results from safety trials can simply go unpublished. To what extent has that happened, and will you support full disclosure of all results?

Answered By Cathleen Enright - Jul 31, 2013

A: We will not cut corners on safety and are committed to full disclosure of scientific research related to the health and safety of GM seeds.  We are also required by law to provide information that is not favorable to our products.  In submitting food safety information to the government for review, we cannot and would not pick and choose which research to present. During the development of a new GM seed, much of the research is conducted by independent third-party laboratories certified to conduct safety testing using protocols required by the government. If a study were ever t [...]

GMOs in Groceries Modern Agriculture Crop protectants


Q: For every study or group of studies you cite, will you provide exact information on how the study was funded and/or who the researcher(s) work for?

Answered By Cathleen Enright - Jul 31, 2013

A: Thank you for your question. Much of the research on GMOs is done by the companies themselves or by independent laboratories working under contract with the companies.  In both cases, proper scientific procedures are followed.  When studies are published in the scientific literature, they routinely include an explanation of the source of funding for the study and a note of any conflicts of interest that the authors may have.  We certainly would not remove such information from our citations.  The important thing about scientific research is that if it follows the proper, r [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made


Q: How can you say GMO are the same as non GMO to get FDA approval, yet get a patent because they are different?? This screams government corruption and warrants an investigation on why this was approved.

Answered By Cathleen Enright - Jul 31, 2013

A: There are two separate concepts here. Patents are sought to protect intellectual property and have been available on seeds and plants since the 1930s. These patents reflect the novel use of plant breeding, including genetic engineering techniques. They do not indicate that the food produced from those plants is somehow different from other varieties of the plant. FDA looks at the safety, nutrition and composition of a GM seed or crop, as compared with that of a non-GM seed or crop. FDA and food safety regulatory authorities around the world have determined that foods made with GM crops are as [...]

Health & Safety How GMOs Are Made