Science fiction? Hollywood weighs in on GMOs

| | August 12, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow recently appeared on Capitol Hill to promote GMO labeling. We applaud her willingness to get involved in the political process. But while GMO labels might seem harmless, the issue obscures important facts.

The scientific community agrees: Genetically modified foods are not harmful to human health.

A Pew poll surveyed both the public and scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and found that 88 percent of scientists thought GMOs were “generally safe.”  That message hasn’t gotten to the public: In the same poll, 57 percent thought GMOs were “generally unsafe.”

Human beings have been genetically modifying food for millennia. 

In their 2013 editorial against GMO labeling, the magazine Scientific American points out:

We have been tinkering with our food’s DNA since the dawn of agriculture. By selectively breeding  plants and  animals with the most desirable traits, our predecessors transformed organisms’ genomes.

GMO foods hold a great deal of promise for poor communities.

Related article:  Emails show anti-GMO organic activists driving food and farming policy at Consumer Reports

“Golden rice,” a GMO food enriched with Vitamin A, was created for poor communities in Southeast Asia and Africa, where the primary staple is rice, but children are going blind for lack of vitamin A. But as William Saletan of Slate notes, golden rice still isn’t commercially available, though it was invented 16 years ago. Saletan attributes this delay to the anti-GMO movement spearheaded by Greenpeace.

Consumers already have a label for non-GMO foods.

Foods that label themselves “organic” have to comply with non-GMO rules, and so anyone who is concerned about avoiding them need only to buy “organic.”

We’ll stick with the scientists on this issue. Wouldn’t it be nice if the celebrities with the privilege of a large platform could do the same?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Thanks, Gwyneth, But We’ll Stick With Scientific Consensus On GMOs

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