If you look at TV Guide any time during the week you can see several nationally syndicated TV programs talking about some of the popular topics in American culture. Food and home are two of the biggest themes so it’s no surprise that agricultural biotechnology and the connections to food would be among the topics discussed. Today’s listings include “Dr. Oz investigates: Genetically Modified Foods.”
The show provided a discussion centered on the safety of GM food and whether GM food should be labeled. The discussion was led by Dr. Mehmet Oz, a medical doctor affiliated with Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital who rose to fame as a the health expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” His guests on this specific episode include Dr. Pam Ronald, a plant geneticist from the University of California Davis and biotech proponent, and two biotech critics, Michael Hansen from Consumers Union and author Jeffery Smith.
The request for our participation came at the eleventh hour – we were contacted on Friday for a show to be taped in New York the following Monday. With the limited timeframe and travel schedules, we were not able to participate on the panel. We appreciate the scientific perspective Dr. Ronald provides and feel she did a great job representing farmers, scientists and others in agriculture, including our viewpoint.
The discussion included biotech salmon, currently under regulatory review, as well as crop products that have been fully approved by regulatory agencies around the world and planted by 14 million farmers (90 percent which are small and resource-poor farmers from developing countries) in 25 countries. As a leader in agricultural seed and technology, Monsanto and some of our products were mentioned. There are several resources already on our site that address some of the questions raised:
- Are GMOs in our food safe? Simply stated, yes. These crops have been extensively tested for food and feed safety in producing countries, and many more countries have approved the import of food or food ingredients that contain GM products.
- Should foods with biotechnology be labeled? Labeling in the US is overseen by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the system used is science-based. The FDA has determined that genetically-modified crops are basically the same as non-GM crops based on scientific testing and therefore don’t need to be labeled. (A previous blog post touched on this as well.)
We continue to participate in the dialogue through other public venues. What kind of information could Monsanto be providing about GM crops that would be useful to people interested in this topic?