Cornell scientist: Exaggerated caution slows adoption of GM crops

In normal science, risk has a precise but deceptively simple meaning: risk equals the probability of some hazard. Anyone booking a flight, taking prescription drugs or scheduling surgery recognizes potential hazards. We regularly take some risks because of expected benefits, or because the risk of doing nothing is higher. The question is always: compared to what? Ideally, regulation of any technology would reach some threshold of acceptable risk — balanced with benefits — for a whole society.

The European Commission Directorate-General for Research assessed available regulatory science for environmental and food-safety risks in A Decade of EU-funded GMO Research (2001-2010): “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than, [for example], conventional plant breeding technologies” (page 16).

Read the full original article: When caution trumps opportunity


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