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Im interested in the history of the GM debate I was a teenager in the late 90s and want to learn about it from an adults perspective. Do you have any information on the protests, or the response from scientists?

Submitted by: Rebecca Nesbit


Answer

Expert response from Steve Strauss

University Distinguished Professor, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University

Thursday, 10/08/2015 11:39

Scientists were the ones who asked for responsible regulation to start with, beginning with a famous conference in Asilomar, California. This was mainly to ensure precautions were taken with possible human pathogens. Unfortunately, the regulations put in place were overly broad and stringent, leading the public to think all GM crops were dangerous, including experiments that were extremely safe and beneficial. Then some activists and organizations, with Greenpeace the most prominent, started to make campaigns against GM crops and food a major effort of theirs, using a mix of unscientific and legitimate concerns to impose even stricter regulations and stimulate wider public concern. Finally, in recent years companies and other organizations realized that public fear of GM food could help them to sell their products and organizations, and made anti-GM and punitive GM labeling part of major advertising campaigns.  Similar movements have occurred all over the world, showing that the urban public is very prone to fear about GM foods everywhere. This widespread fear and stringent regulations are major problems for the agricultural poor, billions of whom can benefit directly from GM crops.  

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