Non-experts need to be wary of pseudo-science

Posted on February 18, 2014

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scarycornThe science of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has been developing for decades. It is complex and requires proper training to understand. Unfortunately there is also a great deal of pseudo-science on GMOs. The internet is used to spread this pseudo-science. The public has no way to distinguish between the real science and the prolific pseudo-science that is designed to scare–not educate. A letter by Jillian MacPherson published in a number of weekly newspapers recently is a perfect example of a non-expert quoting discredited science because she believes it to be good science.

Real experts are not fooled.

The Séralini 2012 study has been examined and dismissed by world experts. Health Canada and the CFIA both looked at the Séralini paper and stated: “Based on Health Canada and CFIA’s review of this information, the authors’ conclusions concerning the long term safety of NK603 corn and glyphosate are not supported.” Around the world real experts examined and dismissed the paper. GMO critics continue to cite it even though the paper has now been retracted by the journal.

The Australian pig study was a terrible study with over 60% of all the test animals suffering from pneumonia. The results actually showed those pigs that ate non-GM diet had a higher rates of inflammation of their stomachs. Again the conclusions of the well-known anti-GMO activist author were dismissed by world experts.

With respect to glyphosate herbicide tolerant crops, Health Canada said it well: “The overwhelming body of scientific evidence continues to support the safety of NK603, genetically modified food and feed products in general, and glyphosate containing herbicides. However, whenever new information concerning the safety of an authorized product arises, this new data is carefully reviewed. Should any risks of concern be identified from the consumption of NK603 or exposure to glyphosate, Health Canada and the CFIA will take appropriate action.”

Real science has been very clear. Even the 2013 European National Academies of Science report stated such. “There is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding…There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.”

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Robert Wager
is a faculty member of Vancouver Island University