(just a bit long)
Here's a selection from the transcript from the Avery - Benbrook
Debate http://www.biotech-info.net/Alexcmb.html &
http://www.biotech-info.net/Alexcmb.pdf with an example of what I
consider to be a successfully non-confrontational manner:
The host didn't mention that fellow sanet member Chuck is a past head
of the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture.
CB> Charles Benbrook: ... the FDA has set in place a mechanism to
CB> label how food is preserved. I think the same will happen with
CB> biotechnology and GMO foods. There will be an agreed upon set of
CB> principles and criteria that will govern how to communicate to
CB> consumers about these new and novel foods, some of which may pose
CB> some risks to certain categories of consumers.
AA> Alex Avery: What are the risks here? Right now we've got Europeans
AA> who are completely anti-biotech. We've got many nations completely
AA> anti-biotech, banning this technology without a single realistic
AA> risk associated with it. We've not found a single problem with
AA> using these technologies. We've got activists who are fueling the
AA> fear of these foods . . .
CB> Charles Benbrook: Well Alex, if you think there is not a single
CB> problem with these foods, then you need to start spending a little
CB> time reading the scientific literature. There is an abundance of
CB> research that shows problems that are being discovered with
CB> genetically transformed foods. Tomato plants, cotton plants, sheep
CB> - all organisms have very elaborate defense mechanisms against the
CB> incorporation of foreign DNA, viruses, bacteria and microorganisms
CB> that aren't part of the organisms genome. That's why species are
CB> able to maintain their genetic integrity.
AA> Alex Avery: No. they are not.
CB> Charles Benbrook: Alex, Alex. I am on, so just let me finish.
AA> Alex Avery: Well, I'm not going to let you mis-characterize it
The blatant truth. But Chuck remains unfazed and under control, then
CB> Charles Benbrook: The process of genetic transformation in
CB> creating a GMO food involves overcoming these natural defenses.
CB> What the recent science is showing, is that some of these genetic
CB> modifications are not as stable over time as once thought. And
CB> they are causing some unexpected silencing of certain genes. They
CB> are turning on other genes, and there are really unusual patterns
CB> of protein formation, and the stimulation of certain biosynthetic
CB> pathways, etc that can lead to the production of novel allergens
CB> or toxins, or influence the development of organisms. We are just
CB> beginning to understand how organisms counter-act genetic
CB> modification. The new science is saying that it is not as simple
CB> as we once thought. Sometimes it could lead to adverse safety
AA> Alex Avery: And that's why we have certain safety regulations of
AA> the genetically modified crops. That's why we have government
AA> oversight and safety testing. GMO foods are the most safety tested
AA> foods in human history. I'm still asking, Chuck, what are the
AA> risks that we have identified? What is the danger that justifies
AA> the banning of these technologies in so many countries. Can you
AA> name one Chuck?
CB> Charles Benbrook: There hasn't been a ban, but there is a
CB> moratorium in Europe because the consensus of the scientific
CB> community in Europe is that there are enough unresolved questions
CB> about this technology that the work needs to be done before we
CB> universally start to introduce GMO foods into the human diet. I
CB> think that the big difference between Europe and the U.S. is the
CB> level of scientific certainty required prior to approval. I think
CB> that there is a recognition, even in the U.S., that there are some
CB> legitimate questions about these technologies that we have not
CB> explored enough. And some people are calling for a certain degree
CB> of humility about such fundamental transformation in something as
CB> basic as our diet.
JI> Host Jeff Ishee: OK. We are going to take a short break. We'll be
JI> back in just a few moments discussing GMOs and the implications
JI> for agriculture. You are listening to the Valley Farm Forum on
There's more, but the urls are given above for those interested. I had
evidently downloaded the pdf some time ago but hadn't taken to time to
read it and had forgotten about it.
The only responsible and completely defensible position that can be
taken by *anyone* is that of calling for (or accepting) a (nice long)
moratorium until definitive results are in. That will provide the
opportunity to prepare the science for the legislative and public
media battle that will follow.
PS - Here's the Avery url: www.cgfi.com
Go get 'em!
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