GM opponents cloak value-based views in science

A new report out of the U.K. shows just how muddled discussion on genetically modified crops really is. Late last week the U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published: “Advanced genetic techniques for crop improvement: regulation, risk, and precaution.” Very broadly, this report set out to look at the “challenge of feeding a burgeoning global population, using few resources,” specifically the use of GMOs, as well as the “EU’s current regulatory regime for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

The report acknowledges that no single type of food can end the difficulties feeding the global population; however, “novel crops could play an important role in helping tomorrow’s farmers to produce more from less.”

The report directly calls for a less biased approach to discussing GMOs: “We urge those with a view about GM to be honest about the reasons for those views and not cloak value-based opposition in scientific terms.”

The committee makes several points in its conclusion, but I want to focus on just a couple. GMOs won’t necessarily solve any and all global food problems, but rather “a diversity of approaches–technological, social, economic, and political–will be required to meet the challenge of delivering sustainable and secure global food production. However, advanced genetic approaches do have a role to play.” It accuses the EU and U.K. government of misleading the public by consistently “framing genetic modification alongside other novel, controversial, or potentially harmful technologies…shut[ing] down opportunities for wider debate.”

Read full original article: We Need More Honesty in GMO Debates

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