Anti-GMO activists misusing FOIA chills science debate, research

One morning in early February I received an unusual email.  It was from my colleague here at University of Florida, Dr. David Oppenheimer.  It simply said, “FYI”, and was followed by a note from university General Counsel that email records were demanded back to 2012 under auspices of Florida Sunshine, or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws.

What did David and I do to precipitate this intrusive request?

We taught science.

David and I had answered questions on, a website sponsored by companies such as Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto, Dow, and others.  The website is intended to provide a portal for public access to independent academic and company experts that could address their questions about transgenic crop technology.

This public records request claimed to target scientists participating in

The request comes from US-Right to Know (US-RTK), an Oakland-based NGO. They suspect collusion because our interaction with the public matches and reinforces concepts in plant biology espoused by the seed manufacturers.

What they fail to realize is that our words parallel company claims because both are distilled from a scientific consensus built upon decades of data.

As scientists we need voice our outrage about such tactics.

More importantly, as scientists we all need to better connect with the public in the pop-controversial areas of science.

We must be conversant in the consensus syntheses of climate change, vaccines and transgenic crop technology.  We all need to actively integrate into the science/society interface, teaching, and interpreting the scholarly literature.  We must be honest, communicating the strengths and weaknesses, risks and benefits, to maintain and expand public trust.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: FOIAs Chilling a Scientific Dialog- Your Call to Communicate

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend