Appnanas? GM Fruit - (image source: sangrea.net free cartoons )
Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (pdf), released on Tuesday (17 May, 2016) by the federally-supported organisation US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, National Research Council (NRC) states not only that GMO crops are safe to eat, but that they have no adverse environmental impacts and have cut down on pesticide use. There are two statements in the preceding sentence that are hotly disputed by independent scientists. Its publication comes as U.S. Congress — which founded the institution—considers making GMO labeling mandatory on consumer products.
There is always some controversy attached to these reports but in this instance the subject is a highly controversial one and information has emerge that NRC, the organization that produced the report has ties to the biotechnology industry in general and in particular has taken corporate grants from Monsanto, the biggest player in the GM crop seeds business.
“There clearly are strong non-safety arguments and considerable public support for mandatory labeling of products containing GE material. The committee does not believe that mandatory labeling of foods with GE content is justified to protect public health,” the report states.
However, on the day before publication of the report, the independent environmental watchdog group Food & Water Watch (FWW) reported in an issue brief (pdf) that the National Research Council (NRC)—the National Academy of Sciences’ research arm has deep ties to the biotech and agricultural industries, which FWW says have “created conflicts of interests at every level of the organization.”
The NRC and the National Academy of Science take millions of dollars in funding from corporations like Monsanto, and other biotech firms including DuPont, and Dow Chemical, FWW reported in its issue brief, Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs (pdf).
Representatives from those companies—along with big food wannabe monopolists Cargill, ADM, General Mills, and Nestlé Purina, among other GMO-friendly corporate members of the big food cartel — sit on the NRC’s board that oversees GMO projects, thus making the NRC's work in biotech vulnerable to lobbying from vested interests. NRC has not publicly disclosed those ties, FWW said. This is damning enough in itself and when you know that more than half of the invited authors of the new report have proven ties to the industry it makes the report worthless.
According to the FWW brief, not only does the NRC have a history of bias toward the biotech industry, it has also worked to suppress criticism of GMOs, the dodgy scientific work that declares them safe and of the companies that have placemen on its board.
“While companies like Monsanto and its academic partners are heavily involved in the NRC’s work on GMOs, critics have long been marginalized,” said Wenonah Hauter, FWW executive director. “Many groups have called on the NRC many times to reduce industry influence, noting how conflicts of interest clearly diminish its independence and scientific integrity.”
The FWW document states:
Weak, watered-down or biased findings from the NRC have a very real impact on our food system. Policy makers develop “science-based” rules and regulations on GMOs based on what the science says—especially what the NRC says, because it is part of the National Academy of Sciences, chartered by Congress to provide scientific advice to the federal government.Despite these criticisms, the NRC has continued to conceal its connections to biotech and big food corporations and the true influence the industry wields over research in this field.
And this is where science can become politicized. Companies like Monsanto need favorable science and academic allies to push their controversial products through regulatory approval and on to American farms. Corporate agribusinesses pour millions of dollars into our public universities, play a heavy hand in peer-reviewed scientific journals and seek to influence prestigious scientific bodies like the National Research Council.
“Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the NRC is required to form balanced committees of scientists to carry out its research—and to disclose any conflicts of interest,” Hauter continued. “Yet the NRC failed to disclose even the conflicts of the members of this deeply unbalanced committee.”
“Agribusiness companies like Monsanto have an outsized role at our public universities, at peer-reviewed journals, and the NRC,” Hauter concluded. “We won’t have good public policy on new technologies like GMOs until these rampant conflicts of interest are exposed.”
So more corporate corruption exposed. This blog does not have an issue with humans eating produce from genetically modified seed stock, plenty of scientists have disputed the industry funded studies that declare it safe, but we are not qualified to comment knowledgeably on such issues. What we are qualified to comment on and what concerns us and ought to concern all consumers is the eagerness of the US government and the European Union (EU) to collaborate with global food corporations with established reputations for unethical behaviour of the corporations that have acquired patents on seeds for the most important staple food plant species the and the risk to public welfare of putting control of the worlds supply of staple foods into the hands of some very untrustworthy corporate pirates.
UK's First GM crops enriched with nutrients ready for harvest
With public opinion and a significant (but ignored by mainstream media strongly opposed to the introduction of Genetically Modified foods one would think that politicians, having lost the trust of voters, might hold back on this one. But no, as usual they are sidelining the public interest and ignoring public opinion in order to push the interests of the corporate cronies.
GM biotech lieotech
GM crops bannned in Mexico
Corporate fascism: Consequences of switch to GM food crops
March against Monsanto: Global protests
GM global takeover
GM crops will not feed the world
Genetically modified food will never be safe says geneticist
GMO corporate lies
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