Deflating claims of oft-quoted anti-GMO activist Jeffrey Smith

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Bucolic Fairfield, Iowa is home to Genetic-ID, a company founded by John Fagan to test crops and foodstuffs for ingredients made from genetically modified crops. Since every major scientific society has examined the science of genetic modification of plants and concluded that these plants are just as safe as conventional crops, you might ask why these relatively expensive tests are worth carrying out.

This was the problem that Fagan faced in 1996: the need to create a market for his services. And one very successful way to do this was to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus of GMO safety and make them seem to be scary and poisonous.

Fagan found Jeffrey Smith working in communications in his company and despite the fact that Smith had no scientific credentials whatever, he exuded personal charm and was a gifted communicator.

Fagan put together a series of wildly inaccurate but scary claims that Smith turned into two self-published books: Seeds of Deception(2003) and a couple of years later Genetic Roulette (2007). Smith then formed the Institute for Responsible Technology at his home in Fairfield, Iowa and used it to sell his books and scary articles and claims.

Related article:  Viewpoint: You can put lipstick on a pig (study), but it still stinks

Every single inaccurate claim in Genetic Roulette has been debunked by Professors Bruce Chassy and David Tribe, using references to peer-reviewed scientific papers, and published on a web site created for that purpose, named We discussed that site in an interview with Professor Chassy in 2012. Then in 2012, Smith released a movie version of Genetic Roulette where he substituted interviews with non-scientists for the inaccurate claims he made in his books.

Smith had been fearmongering long enough, and it is time to call him out and say that enough is enough!

Read full original article: Debunking Jeffrey Smith: GMO misinformation galore

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend