Rethinking GMOs, biotech industry encourages Europeans to engage

23rd Jan 2013

Today, EuropaBio encourages Europeans to reconsider the discussion on GMOs. 2012 saw the emergence of significant support for GM crops from a variety of new people and organisations. Simultaneously, the industry recognised its obligation to engage with the public and clearly communicate the scientific consensus for GM crops and their benefits in a changing world.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Director of Agricultural Biotechnology at EuropaBio said, “The scientific consensus on GM crops is even greater than that for climate change. It is critical that we work to engage with the public to overcome any misunderstandings related to the technology. We need to help people understand how they and the environment can benefit from including GM in the European farmer’s agricultural toolkit. We share this responsibility with those food and feed companies whose products contain GM ingredients, and with national and European authorities who need to play a bigger role in public communications.”

As a step towards greater public engagement, EuropaBio has produced a new brochure entitled ‘Science not fiction: Time to think again about GM’ that provides an overview of the debate in Europe to date. It provides insights into the acceptance challenges of the past, the process of re-establishing ‘fact over fear’, and the role of scientists, policymakers, the food chain, media and other stakeholders over the last 20 years.

Du Marchie Sarvaas added, “The amazing thing is that people harbour fears about GM crops, but don’t know why they have these opinions. By revisiting the origins of the debate we hope to enable people to review their perspectives in the light of what we know today.”

EuropaBio’s brochure outlines that the suspicion surrounding GM crops and other agricultural innovations is often driven by marketing imagery. “Today we have a wide variety of healthy, nutritious and delicious food available to us because of the innovations of the past. People have forgotten that seed breeding is at the root of this on-going development. We can’t continue to tell people that organic and conventional crops are somehow ‘original’ and GM is ‘other’. All of these seeds have been purposefully bred to improve our agriculture and food supply. GM is just another technique, but one that we need, in order to reduce the climatic and environmental impact of farming, whilst feeding a growing population”.

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