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The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns

The purpose of this piece is to draw readers’ attention to an important chapter from a document by Aruna Rodrigues that discusses the unique risks associated with GM crops. Contrary to what supporters of GM often claim, it shows that criticisms of this technology are based on credible concerns, sound logic and solid science.

However, some background information and context might first be useful to indicate that, while critics rely on science, the pro-GMO lobby is mired in duplicity and engages in the debasement of science.

Introduction

The public continues to be fed the message that GMOs are safe and there is a consensus within the ‘scientific community’ over this. We are also informed that there is no difference between crops that have been traditionally bred and GM crops.

To promote GM, however, the pro-GMO lobby relies on fraudregulatory delinquencynon-transparent and undemocratic practicessmear campaigns against critics, dirty tricks and repeating the message that, for instance, a trillion meals containing GMOs have been eaten and no one has died or become ill as a result and that ‘the debate is over’. Aside from well-funded slick PR, it also relies on secretive studies, reports riddled with conflicts of interest and makes baseless claims wrapped up as scientific facts.

It is to the industry’s advantage and those of its co-opted officials, scientists and journalists to promote GM and to deflect attention away from their own interests in batting for this technology. While attempting to denigrate critics of GMOs as somehow being tainted, independence and objectivity appear to be alien concepts to these figures.

“Their PR machine is deployed to unscientifically attack scientists working on biosafety, such as Árpád Pusztai, Ignacio Chapela, Irina Ermakova, Éric Séralini and myself. Many journalists, having no scientific background themselves, have become soldiers in this PR assault. Privileged white men like Mark Lynas, Jon Entine and Michael Specter, with no practical experience in agriculture, armed only with BA degrees and ties to corporate-controlled media, are being used to undermine real scientific findings about the impact of GMOs on our health and ecosystems.” – Vandana Shiva, ‘Fine Print of the Food Wars

Aruna Rodrigues and the unique risks of GM crops

The purpose here, however, is not to go over old ground by describing the glaring hypocrisy, misrepresentations and double standards that the pro-GMO lobby engages in. This has been highlighted time and again and can be read about by clicking on some of the links provided above.

The aim is draw readers’ attention to the document mentioned at the start. Written by Aruna Rodrigues, it sets out a scientific argument for rejecting GM and shows how the pro-GMO case is too often based on deceit and myths. Such concepts should have no place in scientific discourse yet have become commonplace.

Through a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India, Aruna Rodrigues has challenged the Government of India’s promotion of GM. She believes that a completely independent regulatory body should be set up to conduct safety tests for possible risks to humans and the environment. The evidence she provides shows that such independence is currently lacking and the push for GMOs in India is based on secrecy, regulatory delinquency and, ultimately, fraud (as is the case elsewhere too).

She is not the only one to have noted industry influence on decision-making processes surrounding GMOs in India.

“The government is facilitating profiteering by MNCs without addressing the concerns about bio-safety, monopoly control over seeds and having a fool-proof regulatory mechanism in place.” People’s Democracy, Communist Party of India (M)

Rodrigues discusses how GMOs came into being in the US, describes how regulations and protocols have been bypassed or breached, outlines the science behind GM and dismisses the claims that GM is essential for feeding the world. In presenting her carefully thought out arguments, she refers to dozens of official reports, statements and independent peer-reviewed research.

Read what Aruna Rodrigues has to say by clicking on the following link:

The Precautionary Principle (PP) Requires to be Interpreted Critically and Pre-emptively for its Proper Application to the Unique Risks of GM crops” by Aruna Rodrigues

(Download courtesy of Food Sovereignty Ghana)

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Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

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