Jayson Lusk, food and agriculture economist, critiques a TEDx talk by popular anti-GMO activist and author Robyn O’Brian in which she claimed that genetically modified organisms cause allergies, although there is no scientific evidence to support her charge. The video has been viewed more 750,000 times. O’Brian presented herself as a mother who, “after finding one of her children had food allergies, came to the conclusion that the answer must be GMOs.” In her talk, Lusk writes, O’Brian uses “a number of persuasive and scary but misleading story lines,” such as saying that “the US has the highest rates of cancer compared to anywhere else on the planet,” which is not true. Lusk also notes that TED has warned organizers of TEDx events that the topic of GMOs tends to “attract pseudo-scientists,” and is encouraging them to be scrupulous about who is invited to speak.
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