The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine just published an extensive report reviewing more than 900 GMO studies and data covering 20 years. Among the conclusive findings: food from GMO crops is just as safe as food from conventionally bred crops and it poses no added risk to the environment.
Naturally, GMO opponents like celebrity talk show host Dr. Oz sighed in relief and immediately reversed their efforts to stigmatize GMOs.
A day after the report was released Dr. Oz appeared on the Today show to address the study. With egg on his face, Oz brazenly claimed the report “validated” many of the things he’s been saying for years, picking around the report’s definitive language, raising doubts, and saying that we need to keep studying the issue.
Talk to a scientist who works in this field. They’ll tell you GMOs are more thoroughly tested than any product produced in the history of agriculture. Yes, we should continue to study GMOs. Why would we stop?
Oz did offer one compliment of the study, saying that it helps us understand “what the real [GMO] facts are.”
It does, but it’s certainly not new information. The report pulls from 900-plus existing studies and echoes what the Academies, American Medical Association, World Health Organization, FDA, and host of other scientific bodies have been saying about GMO food safety for years, as any “doctor” who speaks out on this topic would surely know.
A doctor who professes to know about GMOs should also know that GMO technology allows farmers to grow food with better nutritional characteristics, such as high oleic soybean oil that has zero grams of trans fat and lower saturated fat than traditional soybean oil and “golden rice,” a genetically modified crop that allows the plant to produce vitamin A, a nutrient that affects (among other things) vision and is severely lacking for millions of people in Asia and Africa. He may also know that GMOs have helped farmers reduce pesticide applications and have created other environmental benefits.
Oz’s willingness to dismiss these facts (again, they’re not “new”) and instead, try to cast a shadow over them does a disservice to consumers by intentionally spreading fear. It also clearly shows his lack of respect for scientific proof.
Without science, we’re left with ideology, which today’s consumers are certainly entitled to. But we should expect more scientific objectivity from individuals who’ve elevated their voices in the public discussion based on their scientific or medical credentials.
By Zach Bader. Zach is Iowa Farm Bureau’s Online Community Manager.