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A group of biotech seed companies have launched an online forum to rebuff disapproval of genetically modified foods across the world. Activists and consumer groups are skeptical, saying the industry has a ‘track record of being anything but transparent’.
The website is said to be partly backed by the biotech US giant Monsanto, DuPont and Dow AgroSciences, according to Reuters, as well as by other companies whose products feature ingredients that have been genetically altered in ways the companies claim improve food production.
Founders of www.GMOAnswers.com say the website was created “to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs.” Its launch is part of the biotech industry’s campaign to respond to concerns for GMO food labeling and tighter regulation in the US.
One user from Newtown, Pennsylvania identified as Sorgfelt posted a question on the website asking whether he could trust any research done on GMOs that has the imprimatur of the Missouri-based Monsanto. He query was prompted after learning “from practical experience that, in order to get a job with Monsanto, or do any research that is supported by Monsanto, or even to publish research on Monsanto seeds, that all of my work would have to be approved by Monsanto.”
“This makes it very difficult to have legitimate third party research to rely on,” Sorgfelt, whose question has yet to be answered, added.
Meanwhile, biotech industry players say all they want is dialogue on the issue.
"This... is an effort to increase the dialogue. That is all we want," Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer told Reuters. "Dialogue is good. Over time I think we'll come to a common understanding."