Last week, the European Commission’s research compendium published a report entitled “A Decade of EU-funded GMO Research.” It’s the second of two reports, the first entitled “EC-sponsored Research on Safety of Genetically Modified Organisms 1985-2000.” The two reports together are a compilation of 130 EU-sponsored studies carried out by more than 500 research organizations from 1985 to 2010.
The findings are, well, just plain shocking. Not that the EU said them, of course, but that 25 years of EU-funded research has shown that there are potentially significant benefits from biotechnology – to the EU and its citizens. And that biotechnology products can be safely used.
Here’s what Maire Geohagen-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science says in the introduction:
“Biotechnologies could provide us with useful tools in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, food production and industry.”
“The introduction of such advanced processes and materials based on biotechnology and GMOs, has enormous potential not only to enhance quality of life while reducing environmental footprints, but also to improve the competitiveness of European industry.”
In the report’s foreward, Maive Rute, EU Director – Biotechnologies, Agriculture and Food, says this:
“More than EUR 200 million has been invested through the Framework Programmes since the year 2001, developing agricultural management techniques for co-existence, tools for detection in and analysis of food and feed, and methods for risk assessment of GMOs, thus responding to the need of farmers, consumers, industry and policymakers. Sound policy, while needing to take account of a wide range of views, must be based on sound science. Accordingly, we will continue to support science on Biotechnologies, including GMOs, in order to ensure that evidence is available for a constructive debate in our societies.”
Yes, I know, this is only the scientific perspective. And, yes, it’s based on only 25 years of studies. And the authors are not saying that biotechnology should be embraced regardless of any and all considerations.
But they are saying that biotechnology has a vital role to play in meeting and resolving serious environmental, food and health challenges.