By Michael Crupain, MD, MPH
(Note: This article was originally published on the Johns Hopkins Center For A Livable Future's Blog)
Nina Federoff, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and professor at Penn State University penned an Opinion piece in the New York Times last week asking for less regulation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. Professor Federoff would like to see more grant money available for research and more scientists working on the development of GE foods, but states in her article, that the regulatory bars of the EPA, USDA, and FDA are set to high and are stifling scientists from making innovations.
Ignoring the rest of her argument that GE seeds dramatically improve crop yields (they don’t and in fact agroecological farming methods are not only better for the environment but better for yields), reduce the use of chemicals (they don’t, pesticide use has increased since the introduction of GE crops in the US), improve the lives of Farmers (not in India or the US), and have not been shown to cause harm to the environment (she forgot about the development of superweeds, pollution of waters, and harm to soil), lets focus on her idea that regulations are too complicated and stringent. As you will see, this is simply not the case. In fact, regulations may be too lax, as they allow corporations driven by profit, not protecting public health, to drive the research or lack their of, to demonstrate safety and as well explained in many of the above articles, the US experience with GM crops has indeed led to environmental problems.