GMOs: Debunking the “10 studies” meme

The blog “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health” is now a fixture on cyberspace . A scientist takes a hard look at the claims and finds the “studies” tell a different story than anti-biotech activists promote.

Source: 10 studies proving GMOs are harmful? Not if science matters | Genetic Literacy Project

As a matter of public interest, any food product, any food product that is derived from a genetically-modified organism should be labeled as such. The label requirements should be consistent across all 50 US states, and ideally, should be consistent globally as well.

This is only fair: it allows consumers to make their own choices, just as they are with the danger warnings on tobacco and alcohol.

At the same time, any suggestion that these foods should be banned is premature at best. The above article provides a laundry list of why the recent online meme suggesting otherwise is seriously flawed – that is, if you really care about the science, and not the ideology of fear that surrounds GMOs.

2 thoughts on “GMOs: Debunking the “10 studies” meme

  1. I have mixed feelings. I’m suspicious when DNA from a greatly different species is spliced into a species of interest. I strongly object to GMO crops that infect the crops of neighboring farmers. I’m furious when corporations responsible for this unwanted invasion then sue the victim because he is using their invention. I think the practice of inventing “miracle” crops that require use of the maker’s poisons is despicable.

    Surely, caution is called for. If GMO corporations refuse to exercise caution, then their products SHOULD be banned until they do. What these corporations would like better than anything is for us to be forced to buy their products.

  2. John, I think to adequately address everyone’s concerns, the first thing we must do is separate the matter of corporate behavior from scientific principle. There is a strong ethical case to be made against some companies in this business, and we need to ensure that the regulations are in place to prevent the use of the genome as a means to gain effective monopoly, to turn farmers into sharecroppers, and to undermine for commercial reasons a reasonable degree of biodiversity in our crop base. (Monocultures, in a word, suck.)

    This is a very different issue from the question of whether GMOs are safe to consume. The overwhelming preponderance of solid, peer-reviewed science to this point has made clear that GMOs are safe.

    You are, of course, free to demand an ever rising burden of proof, but at some point I think we are all obliged to take the blinders off and accept the mountain of scientific evidence that supports the use of genetic modification in food crops.

    Must we stop testing new organisms? No. Should we shy away from high standards of testing? No. Should we label consistently around the world? Absolutely.

    But at this point to continue to question whether it is generally safe to consume GMOs is to make an emotional rather than rational choice, a leap of faith rather than a science-based decision. And when that happens, how is one different than a cloistered monk arguing for the Heliocentric theory, or a Texas roughneck with a grade school education claiming that global warming is fiction?

    I submit that there is no excuse for corporate callousness, but there is also no excuse for the kind of emotionally-driven, science-free jihad against GMOs. Let’s separate the issues and address each as appropriate, rather than equate Monsanto’s product strategy with all organisms with a tweaked genome.

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