Saturday, July 09, 2011

Top #Obama Aid Calls For Deregulation of #GMO #Food

"Dr. Beachy asked the subcommittee to consider the unintended consequences of overly stringent regulations of biotech crops. These include creating the perception that the technology is unsafe and causing many developing countries to be reluctant to adopt the technology. He noted, "It (the regulatory process) has adapted poorly in response to the proven safety record and absence of adverse affect on the environment or on animal and human health of GE crops. It has not adapted to changes that have further enhanced the safety of the technologies; and it has not adapted to the needs of the market. The system needs attention, modification, and improvement if the U.S. and global agriculture communities and its consumers are to benefit from the investment in past and current science and technology that can impact agriculture and agriforestry."

Rethinking Regulations for Biotech Crops -


Bob Kinford said...

Proven safety record? I relate the safety record of GMO food to that of drugs approved by the FDA. We find out people are suffering from cancers, birth defects and heart attacks from these "safe" drugs 20 years after they have been deemed "safe."

These products need to be tested for a minimum of 20 years before being approved. Testing needs to include possible diseases or birth defects, and effects of cross pollinating.

Matt Bogard said...

I share your skepticism with the FDA, however if we applied your standarsd to food, what would we have to eat? Take for instance non biotech organic and conventional foods that utilize mutation breeding. Systematically exposing plant genomes to varying doses of radiation in order to create unpredictable, uncontrollable mutations likely adds more risk to food safety than more precise methods used in molecular biology. Even conventional breeding (excluding the mutant organic crops I just mentioned) involves crossing and interacting thousands of genes in unnatural ways, surpassing our understanding of the effects and unintended consequences. These methods are much more questionable, in terms of uncertainty, than molecular approaches used in GMO's. As such, they should fall under the same regulatory scrutiny as biotech crops. Curent regs increase production costs for biotech crops by 20 fold. Applying stricter standards to all food crops (given your concerns) would drastically impact food costs. Given small family farms and subsistance producers in developing countries rely so heavily on biotech, increasing costs on all seeds this drastically would be economically devastating. The question is, are these costs worth reducing the risks you percieve?

Matt Bogard said...

@Bob - my previous comment was my take on the issue. I know a lot of people share your views, I just have not seen enough compelling evidence over the last decade, (starting back in my FFA days) to change my mind. I'm also jaded by the anti-(modern) family farm rhetoric I see all the time from people like Michael Pollan, Food Inc, Meatless MondaysEnvironmental Working Group, HSUS and others that also seem to take an antibiotech stance. I prefer a more market oriented approach that gives people choices- organic, biotech, nonbiotech, natural, conventional etc. Collectively, peope making their own choices utilizing their own knowledge of particular circumstances and preferences surpasses the wisdom of any government agency or democratically elected or politically appointed bureaucrat. I say give the ag industry the space to make it happen.