“We won’t have good public policy on new technologies like GMOs until these rampant conflicts of interest are exposed,” says Food & Water Watch
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.”