- DTN Headline News
Public Weighing in on Biotech
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:15AM CDT

By Jerry Hagstrom
DTN Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- The National Research Council, a prestigious organization whose studies carry a lot of weight with policymakers and the general public, has invited severe critics of genetically-engineered crops to testify at a three-day semi-public meeting in mid-September as it undertakes a review of agricultural biotechnology.

Next month's meeting is part of a study that the NRC, the operating arm of the National Academies, has launched "to conduct a broad review of available information on genetically-engineered (GE) crops in the context of the contemporary global food and agricultural system," according to a section of the NRC website.

"The public gets conflicting information about GE crops. Proponents tout the benefits while opponents emphasize the risks," the NRC said.

"The study will assess whether initial concerns and promises were realized since the introduction of GE crops and will investigate new concerns and recent claims," the website says. (See link below)

The study was begun in March and is expected to be issued in the spring of 2016. The NRC raises money to conduct its studies, and this one is sponsored by the New Venture Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Agriculture Department and the National Academy of Sciences.

The NRC's decision to invite the critics, including nonscientists, has "caused quite a stir" among biotech advocates, said one advocate close to the situation, because some advocates believe that the NRC should focus only on science while others believe that the way to raise support among the public for genetic modification is to allow the critics to speak.

Cathleen Enright, executive vice president for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), told DTN in an email today that her group supports the study.

"BIO and its members welcome the National Academy of Sciences' overarching goal of providing an independent examination of scientific evidence on the impacts of genetically engineered crops," Enright said.

"Since 1987, the National Academies have issued numerous reports on GE crops, and all have reached the same conclusion: The risks of GE crops are the same as the risks of conventional crops," she said. "We are not aware of any new, scientifically valid research that calls into question the risks of GE crops, and therefore are confident this NAS committee will reaffirm the findings of all previous reports."

Witnesses will include:

-- Chuck Benbrook, Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University

-- Jennifer Kuzma, Goodnight-Glaxo Wellcome distinguished professor and co-director of the Center on Genetic Engineering and Society, North Carolina State University

-- Gilles-Éric Séralini, professor of molecular biology, Université de Caen (via web)

-- Jeffrey Smith, founder, Institute for Responsible Technology

Greg Jaffe, director of biotechnology, Center for Science in the Public Interest

-- Jon Entine, executive director, Genetic Literacy Project

-- Doug Gurian-Sherman, director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist, Center for Food Safety

-- Tim Schwab, researcher, Food & Water Watch

-- Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist, Consumers Union

-- A National Family Farm Coalition representative

Sociologists have also been invited to testify.

Sessions in which the committee members discuss the research process are closed to the public, but the sessions in which experts and the public present testimony are open.

The meeting will be held at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Ave. N.W. in Washington. The public is invited to attend on Monday, Sept. 15, from 1 to 6:15 p.m., and on Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Because seating is limited, registration to attend is required through the website by Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. EDT. The public meetings will also be webcast.

A Wednesday, Sept. 17, meeting of the committee will be closed, but the website says that summaries of the closed sessions will be posted.

The second public meeting will be held Dec. 10-11.



blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:38PM CDT
Monday, August 18, 2014 7:29PM CDT
Friday, August 8, 2014 7:17PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 1:01PM CDT
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 2:31PM CDT
Monday, August 18, 2014 4:24PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:20PM CDT
Thursday, August 7, 2014 2:18PM CDT
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 3:18PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 2:40AM CDT
Monday, August 18, 2014 1:18AM CDT
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:23PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:23PM CDT
Monday, August 4, 2014 5:44PM CDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:56PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:53PM CDT
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 4:05PM CDT
Thursday, August 14, 2014 3:27PM CDT
Thursday, August 21, 2014 5:09PM CDT
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:21PM CDT
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:48PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, August 15, 2014 7:13PM CDT
Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:54AM CDT
Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:46PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, August 15, 2014 7:42PM CDT
Friday, July 25, 2014 9:40PM CDT
Friday, July 18, 2014 10:22PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Thursday, August 21, 2014 5:43PM CDT
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 2:56PM CDT
Monday, August 18, 2014 7:33PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Monday, August 18, 2014 6:37PM CDT
Friday, August 15, 2014 7:44PM CDT
Friday, August 8, 2014 2:10PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 3:16PM CDT
Thursday, August 14, 2014 8:43PM CDT
Thursday, August 7, 2014 3:36PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:18PM CDT
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:17PM CDT
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 10:06PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:16AM CDT
Friday, July 25, 2014 6:07PM CDT
Friday, July 18, 2014 6:08PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN