Have questions about bioengineering?
by Keith Nunes
WASHINGTON – The Council for Biotechnology Information (C.B.I.), which includes members such as BASF, BayerCropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Syngenta, has launched G.M.O. Answers, a web site located at www.gmoanswers.com that offers insight into the safety of bioengineered plants and ingredients.
“G.M.O.s are a growing topic of discussion today, with a wide range of questions and emotions,” said Cathleen Enright, Ph.D., the spokesperson for G.M.O. Answers. “Food is personal, so we want to open the door for personal discussions. We recognize we haven't done the best job communicating about G.M.O.s – what they are, how they are developed, food safety information – the science, data and processes. We want people to join us and ask their tough questions. Be skeptical. Evaluate the information and decide for yourself. We look forward to an open conversation.”
The C.B.I. said the site is built around five principles, including respecting the consumer’s right to choose what food and beverage products are right for them; welcoming and answering questions about bioengineering; making information about bioengineering easy to access; supporting farmers; and respecting farmers’ right to choose what type of seeds they plant.
“This type of open conversation, connecting consumers to experts in academia, government and the industry, is absolutely necessary to advance food and agriculture research to ensure that everyone has access to the highest quality most sustainably produced food,” said Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director of the International Biotechnology Program at the University of California Davis. “Having grown up on a small farm and spent much of my life in academia I can relate to the issues on several levels. I’ve offered to address questions submitted to G.M.O. Answers openly, based on my personal insights, experience and research. I know that many of my colleagues have committed to do the same because we feel consumers have every right to ask questions about how their food is grown, and they deserve an open and honest response so that they can make informed decisions.”