GMOs in Regulation and the Marketplace: Informed or Distorted By Science?
Mainstream science and the regulatory record surrounding GM crops, in contrast, suggests that as a class they are no different or less safe than other crops and foods. There is also a great diversity of GM crop types and uses; categorical statements about their safety or benefits have been eschewed by a wide variety of high level scientific panels and societies around the world. Ironically, no-GMO warnings on some of these products, such as for potato, orange juice, and salmon—even though emerging products can solve major problems, improve food safety, and reduce carbon footprints from food production—also continue to proliferate. Genetic modification that more precisely modifies native genes and their expression than does conventional breeding, including by gene editing and RNA interference, have also been introduced to the marketplace, and the science on which they are based is rapidly growing. However, they are, in general, being treated no differently in regulations or in voluntary no-GMO labels.
I will review scientific findings and the growing use of GMO identification labels and media promotions, and argue that campaigns to avoid and stringently label all GMO crops and food distort the scientific record and represent an abuse of science. The stringency of regulations and labeling requirements also impose similar burdens on exporting countries, impeding the use of direct genetic modification to help deal with the very serious problems in food production and safety in the developing world.