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Pope’s concern about GMOs is about corporate power, not safety

| | June 19, 2015

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

Needless to say, there’s a lot to explore in Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si’ — On the Care of Our Common Home,” so I’ll be doing a string of posts, as time permits, on particular sections. This is not a climate encyclical. It is about humanity’s relationship with the environment, including through agricultural practices.

There’s a fascinating passage on industrial-scale agriculture, including genetically engineered crops. Notably, Francis acknowledges the lack of evidence for human health risks from such technologies. He focuses his criticism on the societal impacts of concentrated monoculture farming, and stresses the importance of a transparent and honest discussion.

Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated. In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to “the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production.” … The expansion of these crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems[* see above], diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future.

Note: Full encyclical section on new biological technologies is included in original post.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: On Technology in Agriculture, Pope Francis’s Concerns are for Corporate Power, Not G.M.O. Risk

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