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Wash Po’s Tamar Haspel addresses conflict of interest charges

| | September 25, 2015
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[This post is excerpted from the Washington Posts live chat where September 23, Food section staff members and guests answer culinary questions. In this exchange writer Tamar Haspel answers a reader’s question about her funding.]

Reader Question: I came across an article in follow up to the NY Times article re: the funding of GMO experts. The Post’s own Tamar Haspel’s name came up and I’d be curious if she would speak to the issue re: who pays what for her services (speaking engagements, articles, etc.).

Haspel’s reply: I speak and moderate panels and debates often, and it’s work I’m paid for. I have two criteria. First is that the event has to be consistent with my public mission, which is to have more constructive debates about food issues. Second is that, if for-profit companies are involved in the event (which they often are), they can’t be the only voice.

Related article:  Actress Gwyneth Paltrow lectures Congress on science and safety of GMOs

I try to get people with very different views in the same room. And so I was able to moderate a panel on GMO labeling that included a Monsanto scientist and a representative from Just Label It, and a debate between GMO Answers and Ben & Jerry’s.

But I would encourage you to consider the source of the piece you quoted. Its author, Jonathan Latham, is very invested in the idea that GMOs are bad, and ideology can warp perception just as reliably as money can. Transparency is critical to public discourse, but labeling anyone who believes biotech has something to offer agriculture as an arm of the industry is advocacy run amok.

Read full, original post: Tamar Haspel and GMO Funding

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