Social Implications

Skeptics on Corporate Science

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Anti-genetically modified food activists are fighting tooth and nail for labeling of all GM foods. These kinds of activist are spreading rapidly and are beginning to hit America. The higher end, including Monsanto and Novartis, act as though they are startled by the outrage that many of these activists feel. The corporations claim that there is no scientific proof that any of the foods they produce are harmful to human health. The tests they have conducted to back up such statements, however, have lead to skepticism among consumers. The activists feel cheated because there are many uncertainties as to what the truth is.

Monsanto and Novartis justify the safety of the crops by the tests that they claim are thorough and efficient. Federal regulatory agencies, chiefly the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency, have been partners with Monsanto and Novartis. "All have been partners in a safety-assurance effort that blithely assumes the new foods are safe unless proven otherwise, and arrogantly resists labeling goods with biotech content on the ground that consumers will irrationally reject out of prejudice (Minneapolis Star Tribune)." Also, "neither the FDA nor other agencies has done much long-term, independent testing of the products, relying instead on industry assurances that they are not significantly different from their non-engineered counterparts (Minneapolis Star Tribune)."

Interesting enough, the FDA and the EPA are still working on the detailed regulatory policies that were promised 5 years ago. The fact is that neither the FDA, the EPA, nor the Department of Agriculture is required to do adequate testing. "If you look at the FDA requirements carefully, you will see that the industry is on the honor system. There is no mandatory safety testing of food before it is put on the market (Kay)." Dare we say that this is an issue of corporate welfare?

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