Monsanto For the Win!

On Wednesday night, Intelligence Squared U.S. held an enlightening debate on genetically modified foods on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (video here). As anyone with a web browser knows, companies like Monsanto are now routinely portrayed in the media (especially social media) as the epitome of corporate evil. The idea is that GMO companies are remorselessly destroying the earth and poisoning mankind with Frankenstein foods in order to line the pockets of their one-percenter CEOs. Well, a fascinating thing happened very early in the debate that shed light on all this. Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources was asked about the scientific consensus, developed over 20 years, on the health impact of genetically modified food. Here’s his response:

I’ve read essentially all the statements by various bodies. And here’s what they essentially all say. They use slightly different words. They say that genetic – the genetic engineering of food as a technology does not create any new or different potential risks in the modified foods that other forms of plant breeding don’t. Several of the reports, including both of the two national academy of science reports that specifically address this say that there is a possibility that genetically engineered foods may pose higher risk of that nature, but we really don’t know. They also all say that there’s no convincing evidence now or at this point that there’s been acute health problems in the U.S. population from the consumption of genetically engineered foods. And then they all go on to call for further investment in the development of more sensitive, scientific techniques to assess the possibility risks, and they also call for post approval surveillance. Most of the recommendations for better science, more careful risk assessment and post market surveillance that have been made for over 15 years, and these reports have not been acted upon.

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Monsanto For the Win!

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