The organization GMO Free CT has begun a full court press to label transgenic foods in Connecticut, holding multiple screenings of Jeffrey Smith’s mendacious film Genetic Roulette at cooperative but unsuspecting libraries, and organizing testimony on proposed legislation requiring labeling of GMO foods, with the eventual objective of banning them entirely. This movement is sponsored and supported by the organic food industry who then use scare tactics to recruit additional volunteers.
You have an opportunity to testify before one legislative committee tomorrow at 6pm at Fairfield University, or submit your testimony in writing as I did. It is important that citizens speak up to stop this bogus movement. My testimony is attached below:
I am very disturbed to learn of the powerful press by GMO Free CT to require labeling of foods containing transgenic crops. I live in Wilton CT and have been following this movement for some time, and writing about it in my on-line food column.
This organization is not a grass roots group, but an "astroturf" group funded by the organic foods industry. Much of their support comes from the Institute for Responsible Technology, which is fully funded by the organic industry.
Responsible scientists look with bemusement on this organization, because you will find just about no scientists supporting this viewpoint, and no peer-reviewed scientific papers indicating that transgenic crops cause problems of any sort, despite the fact that over 3 trillion meals have been served in the US in the past 15 years using GMO crop ingredients.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of scientific papers showing that transgenic crops are harmless. An extensive review of animal feeding studies by the European Food Safety Organization has concluded that they "did not show any biologically relevant differences in the parameters tested between control and test animals."
Dozens of published peer-reviewed studies such as this one by Flachowsky have concluded that “no significant differences in safety or nutritional value between GM feeds and conventional feeds.”
The "anti-GMO movement" has a number of strong and emotional supporters, but they do not seem to have any science on their side.
Recently, British science writer and former anti-GMO organizer Mark Lynas has reversed himself, calling the anti-GMO movement "anti-science," and noting that
You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food.
From an ethical point of view, the claim that "we have the right to know what we put in our mouths" does not hold up either. This has been written about extensively, notably by MacDonald and Whelams in the Journal of Business Ethics. They conclude that
"Given the lack of solid evidence for any risk to human health, and the serious market disadvantage almost surely associated with costly unilateral action, no individual company has an ethical obligation to label its GM foods."
My view is that this movement has no scientific basis and that the legislature should vote down any proposed bills as without merit and a waste of everyone's time.
1. Safety and nutritional assessment of GM plants and derived food and feed: the role of animal feeding trials. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Mar; 46 Suppl 1:S2-70
2. Flachowsky, Aulrich, Bohme and Hall: Studies on feeds from genetically modiﬁed plants (GMP) – Contributions to nutritional and safety assessment
3. MacDonald and Whellams,Corporate Decisions about Labelling Genetically Modified Foods, Journal of Business Ethics, October 2007, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 181-189
4. Mark Lynas, Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January, 2013. http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/
James W Cooper