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GMA launches GMO Facts website: ‘Ingredients grown using GM technology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down’

5 commentsBy Elaine WATSON , 19-Sep-2013
Last updated on 19-Sep-2013 at 19:21 GMT

GMA launches GMO website, says GM food safe for humans and planet

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has created a new website designed to address questions about GMOs.

The FactsAboutGMOs  website contains mainly links to third party sources of information on GM crops and follows the launch of GMO Answers , a site developed by members of the Council for Biotechnology Information.

The websites are the latest in a series of moves from industry to try to change the conversation about GM foods, which has become increasingly polarized in recent months as state-level initiatives calling for the labeling of foods from GM crops have gained momentum. 

Whether there is any middle ground in this debate remains to be seen, however, with a recent report from Packaged Facts noting: “Much of the back and forth on the benefits and dangers of GMO ingredients and foods has passed beyond being a reasonable discussion of scientific data into a public relations battle between two sides trying to control a narrative.”

GMA: GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food

According to the GMA, which says it will “continue to advocate for the continued safe and effective use of agricultural biotechnology”, GM crops require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down.

GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%", said GMA president Pam Bailey, adding that 70-80% of the foods consumed in the US contain ingredients from GM crops.

Meanwhile, the broad consensus among regulatory, scientific and government bodies - from the American Medical Association to the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the FDA, USDA and the National Academy of Sciences - is that foods from GM crops are safe for human consumption, she added.

Plant geneticist: We’ve been genetically modifying our crops for centuries

Dr Parrott: We have changed our crops so much that only a trained botanist could recognize wild versions of most popular crops we grow commercially today

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show in Chicago in July, plant geneticist Dr Wayne Parrott, professor of Crop Science at the University of Georgia, said that the focus of any debate on GM crops should not be on GM technology per se, but whether the food crops it generates have unique characteristics and attributes that may present risks. (Click here to watch the video.)

Dr Bruce Chassy, Professor Emeritus of Food Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, added that there is nothing ‘natural’ or inherently safer about conventional (non-GM) animal or plant breeding, which uses techniques from inducing mutations in the DNA of the crop via x-rays, to chemical mutagenesis. (Click here to watch the video.)

Dr Chassy: None of the animals and plants we eat today exist in nature, they have all been extensively genetically modified

He added: “I don’t even think that the phrase ‘genetically modified’ is really appropriate since none of the animals and plants we eat today [produced using ‘conventional’ or non-GM agricultural techniques] exist in nature, they have all been extensively genetically modified. So it’s foolishness to talk about bioengineered crops as ‘GM foods’.”

Indeed, “conventional breeding is probably riskier as it’s black box stuff”, he said, while GM techniques are “far more precise”.

Opponents of GM technology say that consumers have a right to know what's in their food, and products containing ingredients from GM crops should be clearly labeled as such

Asked about the issue of weeds developing resistance to glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide), Dr Parrott said that this was not a problem unique to GM crops, adding:“Ever since there has been agriculture, farmers have had an arms race with weeds."

“Every 10 years or so they have to find a new herbicide to maintain its usefulness, and in that regard GMOs are no different."

However, non-GMO campaigners argue that GM foods are over-hyped, untested, unlabeled and potentially damaging to the environment and to health, and say consumers have a right to know what's in their food via clear labeling on pack .

Click here to watch our interview with Ken Roseboro, publisher of the organic and non-GMO report.

Click here to access the GMA's new website.

Click here to access the Just Label IT website.

Click here to see the No to I-522 site run by opponents of the I-522 GMO labeling proposal in Washington State.

Click here to see the Yes to I-522 site from supporters of the  I-522  GMO labeling proposal in Washington State.

Click here to read all of our latest coverage on GM crops and GMO labeling.

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5 comments (Comments are now closed)

Patently Untrue

Well done research has shown than GM crops are costing increasingly more to grow than conventional crops and yield only slightly higher bushels per acre than conventional. Partly due to the fact that farmers must buy seeds each growing season as opposed to collecting and using their own - and the fact that the need for increasing amounts of glyphosate is being used each season as weeds become resistant. This was evidenced in a 2007 study that showed that the amount of glyphosate used by US farmers doubled to 185 million pounds in just 6 years while the number of new GM crops had NOT. Meaning farmers are using more per crop. As for the argument of feeding the world, I have no problem with feeding these crops to those who would otherwise die. At the same time, I think if GM crops are so beneficial as is pointed out in so many articles in the mainstream then companies like Monsanto would be proud to label it as such. Yet the spend hundreds of millions of dollars fighting GMO labeling. So many countries have opted to avoid GM crops while the research provides more evidence of their safety. A reasonable thing for governments who put value in their people to do.

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Posted by Carl Lanore
18 October 2013 | 16h50

GMO Promo

LOL, please in the future can you present BOTH sides of this issue. Can you report the environment damage being done by increasing amount of Roundup being used on GMO crops. Can you please report the livestock deaths using GMO corn as feed.

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Posted by William Hoffmann
24 September 2013 | 23h34

Do You want to eat the GMO "food"?

The debate continues..The real question is..Do the growers and makers of gmo "food" and the makers of Roundup eat them? If they are good, they should eat their own creation, right?
People have the right to know what they are eating.
Why would a company spend so much to not have to label GMO's What are they afraid of? The Truth?

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Posted by Rok
24 September 2013 | 17h50

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