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Moving beyond blah, blah, blah to show the safety and value of GMOs

Moving beyond blah, blah, blah to show the safety and value of GMOs
Have you heard about the safety and value of GMOs? Probably not, and that’s a big problem.

America’s food and environmental safety agencies have repeatedly vouched for the safety of foods made with crops developed using biotech, which are often called GMO foods. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and other food safety agencies – not to mention major health organizations like the American Medical Association – all assert that the scientific evidence strongly shows that GMO foods are safe. They also stress that biotech crops have helped the environment by reducing the need for pesticides and aiding farmers’ efforts to save soil.

The agencies say it makes no sense to force the labeling of foods made with GMO crops. That’s because there is really no difference in the quality or the safety, they say, and labels should be reserved for things that consumers really need to know, such as allergens.

But, as lawmakers crossly stated at a recent hearing in biotech crops, the message on GMO safety and value is just not getting out to the public. After one official cited various scientific studies his agency used to reassure the public, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told him bluntly the efforts just weren’t working. “You say that, but what people hear is blah, blah, blah,” she said.

And she’s right.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence showing they are wrong, biotech opponents have been far more successful at spreading mistruths and fear about the technology. They wear scary costumes to frighten consumers. They trot out ill-informed movie stars to attract media buzz. And they flood social media sites with bogus information to heighten the fear factor.

But like that newly carved jack-o-lantern on your porch, this scary stuff tends to have a short shelf life.

I’m starting to see more and more articles highlighting real scientific evidence which points to the safety and value of GMOS like this one, or this one.  Web-based sources, like Best Food Facts and GMO Answers, are providing consumers clear and timely answers to their questions about GMOS. And maybe even food safety agencies can someday move beyond blah, blah, blah, when they assert the safety of and value of GMOs.

The evidence is clear, GMOS are safe and valuable for consumers and the environment.

By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is news services manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.