START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
569,950 people care about Real Food

When “Squelching Scientific Inquiry” is Prudent

When “Squelching Scientific Inquiry” is Prudent

 

As Food & Water Watch points out, the August 2nd Los Angeles Times editorial, “Science and salmon” takes a “pro-industry, anti-regulatory approach to the controversial pending FDA approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon.”

While admitting some risks have already been linked to the GE fish, such as potential for mating with wild populations, the LA Times editorial accuses eight senators of “squelching scientific inquiry.” Why? Because the eight have warned the Food and Drug Administration “that they will pursue legislation—already passed in the House—to keep the FDA from using any of its funding to study whether genetically modified salmon are safe for the environment and consumers.”

What the editorial dismisses as “squelching scientific inquiry” is actually a reasonable call for the kind of independent verification the GE industry has fought from the beginning. Here is what the senators’ letter actually says:

“We are concerned that the FDA’s review of GE salmon uses the same criteria as it would for approving a veterinary drug. This level of genetic manipulation is clearly not a veterinary drug. In addition, the lack of transparency in the approval process is extremely disconcerting given that the approval of GE fish is likely the first step toward approval of many more GE animals for human consumption.”

It is not anti-science to call on the FDA to stop wasting dollars on an approval process that will not be open and transparent or appropriate to the issue. The GE industry has never been open and transparent, and the FDA will be basing its decisions on industry-supplied research. In spite of all mounting evidence against the GE fish (see Related Care2 Stories below), pressure from the biotech industry is moving the U.S. government closer to approval.

Food & Water Watch has compiled resources that dig beneath the reassurances issued by industry, including those that show federal scientists have expressed concerns. The biotech industry has spent more than half a billion dollars on lobbying. Polluting industries stand to gain the most. And on it goes, including a suggestion industry-funded PR hacks may be providing “major newspapers around the country with their GE salmon talking points.”

It is disappointing to see one of the best newspapers in the country brushing aside the senators’ legitimate concerns, but it is another reason to be all the more vigilant in searching out information not compiled or funded by industry sources.

Related Care2 Stories

Genetically Engineered Salmon No Laughing Matter

FDA Caught Hiding the Truth About GM Salmon

3 Reasons Federal Scientists Fear Genetically Engineered Salmon

Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo by Cathryn Wellner

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

32 comments

+ add your own
2:53AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Don't we have better things to do than tamper with Mother Nature?

12:54AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

DH C: you missed the point. Selective breeding is "genetic engineering" in a very broad sense. Selective breeding results in a natural plant or animal that functions as it should and would not devastate wild populations.

Genetic engineering is complicated, expensive, not at all precise, and there is essentially no quality control. When geneticists precisely alter a particular gene, they have no control over, nor can they predict, all of the other odd and unnatural changes that take place as a result of changing just that one gene. These plants and animals might work fine in a lab, but the unpredictable behavior of these naturally impossible traits in wild populations is the weak point. These altered plants and animals, when released in even modest numbers, can (and have) wiped out wild populations. In other cases, the changes have made a plant so aggressive and resistant to predators and poisons that they spread uncontrollably and wipe out local ecosystems.

It is a serious mistake to lump these two very different practices into the same category and assume that all is well (or in your case, assume it's even better). Our laws have nowhere near enough requirements for studies and tests of genetically altered plants and animals before they are released in great numbers into the environment.

7:40AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

Interesting.

5:23AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:14AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

Selective breeding is usually much faster than evolution and selects for traits that make a plant or animal more useful to humans. Genetic modification is much faster than selective breeding and selects for traits that make a plant, animal, or microbe more profitable to the corporation sponsoring the genetic modification, usually Monsanto.

1:48AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

The Corporatocracy knows that if they rule the food, they rule the people.

Fight back against GMO's!!


10:11PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

ALL OF YOUR FOOD HAS BEEN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED! All of it. If you eat food you are eating genetically engineered food. Period.

Humanity has been directly experimenting with genetic engineering ever since we began growing plants, and owning livestock. We breed the biggest/healthiest plants/livestock with more of the same to get bigger/healthier plants/livestock. The only difference with today’s methods is that through the wonders of science we can do it a lot more efficiently, and can do it with a precision that allows far more quality control.

Evolution does much the same thing over vast stretches of time wherein bigger/healthier plants/animals become bigger/healthier because big/healthy plants/animals are more likely to live long enough to make babies.

Genetic engineering is a natural process that science makes more efficient with better quality control.

Anyone who does not support genetic engineering needs to stop participating in it by not having babies.

10:11PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

ALL OF YOUR FOOD HAS BEEN GENETICALLY ENGINEERED! All of it. If you eat food you are eating genetically engineered food. Period.

Humanity has been directly experimenting with genetic engineering ever since we began growing plants, and owning livestock. We breed the biggest/healthiest plants/livestock with more of the same to get bigger/healthier plants/livestock. The only difference with today’s methods is that through the wonders of science we can do it a lot more efficiently, and can do it with a precision that allows far more quality control.

Evolution does much the same thing over vast stretches of time wherein bigger/healthier plants/animals become bigger/healthier because big/healthy plants/animals are more likely to live long enough to make babies.

Genetic engineering is a natural process that science makes more efficient with better quality control.

Anyone who does not support genetic engineering needs to stop participating in it by not having babies.

8:16PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

The article has a good point, but the title is disconcerting. Many people, like myself, only read a few articles and scan the remaining headlines. The face value of the sentiment is not reassuring.

5:54PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men..

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.