Biotech industry, USDA hype CRISPR gene-editing benefits to avoid second GMO safety debate

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The U.S. agriculture industry is trying to get ahead of any backlash over gene-edited foods and win over the public by touting how new forms of genetically engineered crops can feed the world’s growing population.

The industry says it has learned from the drawn-out friction surrounding genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Throughout the past decade, controversy over the perceived safety of GMOs has heavily influenced public opinion. Anti-GMO activists successfully….[created] wariness of biotechnology that continues today.

BIO and the American Seed Trade Association, which represent hundreds of biotech companies and seed businesses, are now seeking to be on the offensive rather than playing defense. They have launched new messaging focused on how gene-edited crops [could make] plants resilient to effects of climate change or resistant to pests and disease.

Related article:  Anti-GMO groups in the Philippines launch campaign challenging Golden Rice approval

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has stepped into the fray, attacking what he calls the “fear our food” movement. He said that social media and the 24-hour news cycle has fueled the controversy with scare tactics….

“As we looked at this we realized that we needed to try to be proactive, get out in front of this,” said Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. “Food has become a very personal subject in today’s society.”

“We want to have that dialogue from the beginning,” he said.

Read full, original article: US industry wants to make gene-edited food easy to swallow (Behind paywall)

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