Brussels – Food & Water Europe’s damning critique of the so-called scientific “consensus” surrounding GM food and crops, published today, exposes the biotech industry’s role in massaging facts to support its products. The report is published while the EU Parliament and Council are locked in negotiations trying to overcome deep disagreement on so-called “opt-outs” (national or regional bans) for GM crops.
Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, “The fact that such a vigorous debate continues over the so-called ‘consensus’ on GMO safety is evidence enough that no consensus exists. Rather than chasing ‘consensus’, the real conversation that scientists and the public should be having — in academic journals, in the media and in Parliaments — is whether or not GMOs are safe.”
The So-Called Scientific “Consensus”: Why the Debate on GMOs is Not Over shows how pro-GM vested interests cherry pick information and manipulate quotes from scientific bodies like the World Health Organisation and the Royal Society of London to promote their alleged consensus. The briefing also points out that neither scientific institutions, the scientific literature nor independent scientists support the “consensus” claim.
Food & Water Europe’s EU Food Policy Advisor Eve Mitchell said, “GMO boosters are working so hard to distract the public from the real questions hanging over GM food and crops – that’s par for the course. The biotech industry has long used its financial might and political power to distort the public discourse — and even the science — surrounding GMOs.
“We want to ensure the public has access to all the facts so we can make the best decisions. For starters there are zero peer-reviewed studies of the epidemiology of GMO consumption, so any claims GMOs are safe to eat in the long-term are based in hope, not science. People need to know that.”
The organisation also points to the hundreds of scientists who called the “consensus” bogus, citing:
- Limited animal feeding trials have been conducted on GMOs; several show or suggest toxic effects.
- The biotechnology industry is responsible for most of the available feeding trials showing that genetically engineered crops are safe and nutritious; an equal number of research groups working on feeding trials have expressed “serious concerns” over safety.
- There is evidence of environmental safety issues, including adverse, unintended impacts on non-target organisms and the promotion of resistant weeds.
- There is evidence of possible adverse human and animal health effects from exposure to Roundup, the herbicide used on the majority of GMO crops.
- Several international agreements acknowledge safety issues with GMOs.
Mitchell added, “There are many grave risks here, but there is no liability regime to hold the biotech industry responsible if anything goes wrong with their GMOs. At the very least we need to heed what the evidence is telling us and take more care. Given what we know already, there has never been a better case for saying ‘better safe than sorry’.”
Contact: Eve Mitchell, EU Food Policy Advisor, Food & Water Europe +44 (0)1381 610 740 or emitchell(at)fweurope(dot)org