Letter to Editor: Response to Unmentioned side of story – Example of Misinformation about GMOs

The following letter is a response to the Letter to the Editor (Are GMOs Safe? The unmentioned Side of the Story) that was published in response to the article on GMOs (Cutting thorough the Confusion on GMOs).
I am excited that through the Tillamook County Pioneer we are able to have a critical conversation about GMOs. It is important to consider the variety of potential impacts on health, the environment, and agriculture.  As both of these letters point out, there are many studies that have been done, more that need to be done, and many myths that cloud the issue.  This is why we are started our partnership with the Tillamook County Pioneer. Our goal is to provide information that can help you make sense of the issues you care about.  We plan to continue exploring the issue of GMOs and other topics in future articles.  We are hoping readers will continue to contribute to this conversation.  We would love to read your comments or questions about GMOs or other topics. 
Jessica Linnell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Practice, Family & Community Health, Oregon State University Extension Service

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There is so much fear towards genetically engineered crops (aka GMO) from decades of anti-GMO industry misinformation.  The letter by Tom Bender on July 11th is a great example.

First there is very little doubt GE crops and derived foods are as safe, or safer than crops from other breeding methods.  If one doubts this please read the National Academy of Sciences 2016 “GE crops” report or the European Academies Science Advisory Council 2013 “Planting the Future” report .

The myth that farmers are being sued for adventitious presence of GE in their non-GE fields never seems to go away.  This myth was put to the test when the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association sued Monsanto for exactly that.  The beauty of a court case is one must provide evidence.  When asked for the evidence of the alleged activities of Monsanto, over 30,000 plaintiffs could not produce a single example.  Yet the myth persists.

The writer suggests the test for environmental considerations of GE crops is lacking.  In fact over 30,000 field trials have been conducted on GE crops by the USDA.  The over conclusion is GE do not generate unique risks beyond the usual uncertainties of other crop breeding methods.

Glyphosate is not carcinogenic according to the EPA, Health Canada, the European Food Safety Authority, the WHO and many other food safety and health authorities around the world.  It is easy to see how many in the public have been convinced of things that are not so.  Billions of dollars trying to generate fear has been very successful.

 If one wants to learn about the real science please download the NAS and EASAC documents linked above.  They represent the best of scientific knowledge on GE crops and derived foods.   If you get the chance to view the movie “Food Evolution” I am sure you will be surprised by what you learn.

Robert Wager
Vancouver Island University
Nanaimo BC