GMO Opponents Use Fear and Deception to Advance Their Cause

By Keith Kloor | March 28, 2014 1:53 pm

The anti-GMO troops in the United States received some unwelcome news this week from Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). At a congressional hearing on Thursday, Hamburg reiterated the FDA’s support for voluntary GMO labeling initiatives, but nothing beyond that:

The way FDA has for many years interpreted the law and it has been supported by the courts is that mandatory labeling is appropriate and required when there is a fault claim or misbranding. The fact that a food contains GE ingredients does not constitute a material change in the product.

She also mentioned the large body of science that points to the safety of genetically modified foods, (a consensus opinion of all the major scientific bodies, including the AAAS and the Royal Society of Medicine).

In my email inbox this morning, I received a press release from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), which stated:

“It is an insult to anyone who buys food in this country to go on record stating that the FDA has ‘not found evidence of safety risks’ associated with GMOs,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the OCA. “The American Medical Association has called for pre-market safety testing of GMOs, and almost 300 scientists and doctors last year signed a statement saying that there is “no scientific consensus on GMO safety.”

Really? Because such a statement might be considered an insult to the American Medical Association (AMA), which says that “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.”  I guess Cummins must have read right past that part in the 2012 AMA statement on genetically engineered crops and foods.

Oh, and as for those “300 scientists and doctors” asserting “no scientific consensus on GMO safety,” perhaps they have something in common with this group of scientists who reject the scientific consensus on global warming.

Further down in its press release, the Organic Consumers Association asserts:

Recent studies have linked GMOs to human health issues, including kidney and liver failure, allergies and cancer.

Silly me, here I thought the movement to label GMOs was based on a consumer’s “right to know” ethos. I guess a clever gimmick can only take you so far.

For those who want to learn more about “recent studies” that have linked GMOs to an assortment of diseases, I got that covered for you right here, since the Organic Consumers Association neglected to provide any references or links.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets.From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine.In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest.He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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