No scientific consensus on GMO safety-Public Being Misled Says Scientists

by jeeg 21. October 2013 23:12

There is no scientific consensus that genetically modified foods and crops
are safe, according to a statement released today by an international group
of over 85 scientists, academics and physicians.
The statement comes in response to recent claims from the GM industry and
some scientists and commentators that there is a “scientific
consensus” that GM foods and crops are safe for human and animal
health and the environment. The statement calls such claims
“misleading” and states, “The claimed consensus on GMO
safety does not exist.”

Commenting on the statement, one of the signatories, Professor Brian Wynne,
associate director and co-principal investigator from 2002-2012 of the UK
ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Cesagen,
Lancaster University, said: “There is no consensus amongst scientific
researchers over the health or environmental safety of GM crops and foods,
and it is misleading and irresponsible for anyone to claim that there is.
Many salient questions remain open, while more are being discovered and
reported by independent scientists in the international scientific
literature. Indeed some key public interest questions revealed by such
research have been left neglected for years by the huge imbalance in
research funding, against thorough biosafety research and in favour of the
commercial-scientific promotion of this technology.”

Another signatory, Professor C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified
toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster, said: “A
substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic
or allergenic, and that they can have adverse impacts on beneficial and
non-target organisms. It is often claimed that millions of Americans eat GM
foods with no ill effects. But as the US has no GMO labelling and no
epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing
whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have
anything to do with GM food consumption or not. Therefore this claim has no
scientific basis.”

A third signatory to the statement, Andy Stirling, professor of science and
technology policy at Sussex University and member of the UK
government’s GM Science Review Panel, said: “The main reason
some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is
that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and
global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related
interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress
scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science

The scientists’ statement was released by the European Network of
Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility in the week after
the World Food Prize was awarded to employees of the GM seed giants
Monsanto and Syngenta and UK environment secretary Owen Paterson branded
opponents of GM foods as “wicked”.

Signatories of the statement include prominent and respected scientists,
including Dr Hans Herren, a former winner of the World Food Prize and an
Alternative Nobel Prize laureate, and Dr Pushpa Bhargava, known as the
father of modern biotechnology in India.

Claire Robinson, research director at Earth Open Source commented,
“The joint statement and comments of the senior scientists and
academics make clear those who claim there is a scientific consensus over
GMO safety are really engaged in a partisan bid to shut down debate.

“We have to ask why these people are so desperate to prevent further
exploration of an issue that is of immense significance for the future of
our food and agriculture. We actually need not less but more public debate
on the impacts of this technology, particularly given the proven effective
alternatives that are being sidelined in the rush to promote GM.”
Earth Open Source


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