The chart is from The chart comes from UNDER THE INFLUENCE: the National Research Council and GMOs [PDF], a report from Food & Water Watch detailing the conflicts of interest on the panel that issued this week’s report declaring GMOs fit for human consumption.
The only problem, the report concluded, was that the herbicides used in conjunction with patented GMO crops tends to result in the fast, chemically natural selection of superweeds resistant to the patented pest-killers.
As for health problems, though they maintained none had been found, more was needed in the way of research:
In response to its charge, the committee has developed a framework to identify appropriate scientific questions and methods for determining unintended changes in the levels of nutrients, toxins, toxicants, allergens, or other compounds in foods from GMOs, in order to assess potential short- and long-term human health consequences of such changes. Although the array of analytical and epidemiological techniques available has increased, there remain sizeable gaps in our ability to identify compositional changes that result from genetic modification of organisms intended for food; to determine the biological relevance of such changes to human health; and to devise appropriate scientific methods to predict and assess unintended adverse effects on human health.
As for that research on GMOs, there’s only one problem — besides, of course, those troubling vested interests of the scientist on the panel: Nobody can conduct research on those patented GMO crops without the approval of the companies make lots of money from creating and selling them, along with their similarly patented herbicides.
Would you buy a house from someone who said nobody could inspect it unless they were approved by the seller?
More on the report from Common Dreams:
Public skepticism is growing over a new report that claims genetically modified (GE or GMO) foods are safe for consumption, particularly as information emerges that the organization that produced the report has ties to the biotechnology industry.
Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (pdf), released Tuesday by the federally-supported National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, states not only that GMO crops are safe to eat, but that they have no adverse environmental impacts and have cut down on pesticide use. Its publication comes as U.S. Congress—which founded the institution—considers making GMO labeling mandatory on consumer products.
“There clearly are strong non-safety arguments and considerable public support for mandatory labeling of products containing GE material. The committee does not believe that mandatory labeling of foods with GE content is justified to protect public health,” the report states.
However, one day before publication, the environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch (FWW) reported in an issue brief (pdf) that the National Research Council (NRC)—the National Academy of Sciences’ research arm—has deep ties to the biotech and agricultural industries, which FWW says have “created conflicts of interests at every level of the organization.”
As far as those pesky weed-killers, Monsanto got some bad news Thursday.
From Deutsche Welle:
With the Monsanto’s glyphosate license in the EU set to expire, members put off a decision on continued use of the potent herbicide, marketed as Roundup. Glyphosate, one of the world’s most commonly used active ingredients in weed killers, works by inhibiting the growth of unwanted plants in farming and domestic and urban environments.
A 2015 World Health Organization study identified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. A more recent study by the WHO and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization found otherwise. However, watchdogs have criticized the second study because the chairman of the joint meeting leads an institute that received a six-figure donation from Monsanto, which produces glyphosate and several controversial genetically modified products.
The European Food Safety Authority, the EU’s industry watchdog, has not identified a risk of cancer. Still, scientists have found that glyphosate poses a serious risk to biodiversity.
If no decision is made by June 30 and the European Commission chooses not to weigh in, glyphosate will no longer be authorized within the EU.
So does this means Europe is headed for the last Roundup™?
Well, if the TTIP passes, Monsanto can always sue them in the secret tribunal the trade pact would create. . .