Genetically modified products got a boost at a House Ag panel hearing as lawmakers and witnesses took on GMO critics. Republicans and Democrats on the House Horticulture Subcommittee agreed genetically modified crops are key to feeding a global population that will hit 9-billion by 2050.
Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader says “I find it somewhat ironic that those very people that seem to be most concerned about climate change seem to be against one of the major tools we can use to actually combat some of the deleterious effects of current farming practices. There’s less tillage need with some of the biotechnology crops we have.”
Other benefits include less pesticide use and better nutritional value. Schrader complains requiring GMO labeling will only make consumers think there’s a problem with GMO food.
“Consumers tend to lump foods as having been genetically engineered together with foods that are highly processed, infused with chemical preservatives, and factory produced foods,” says Cornell University Professor Dave Just. “Consumers associate GMO’s primarily with some unquantifiable health risk, similar to that of untested or poorly tested medicines or drugs.”
But consumers are more accepting when told the reason for a genetic modification – chicken bred to resist disease, foods changed to boost nutrition – but more skeptical of crops modified to enhance productivity. Still – Dr. Calestous Juma of the John F. Kennedy School of Government says the evidence against GMOs is not there.
“The evidence does not support those claims. The balance of the evidence which is the studies that have been done that summarize all the previous studies that exist have come to the conclusion that the risks associated with genetically modified products are similar to those associated with conventional products.”
Juma says the EU spent some 300-million Euros over 10-years to reach the same conclusion as the National Academy of Sciences; GMOs are safe. But Juma says the EU Parliament is still swayed by anti-GMO consumer groups whose studies demonize GMOs but are never challenged or forced to disclose their funding sources.
Source: NAFB News Service