The Pro-GMO Lobby: Anti-science and a Politically Motivated Agenda

Colin Todhunter

The pro-GMO lobby claims that there is a scientific consensus on the safety of GM food and therefore the GMO debate is over. It claims that GMOs guarantee higher yields and less pesticide/herbicide use. The claim is also made that GM agriculture has no adverse impact on soil, the nutritional value and health of crops or biodiversity. The industry and its supporters claim that the ‘scientific community’ believes GMOs can only have positive effects and point to research to back this up.

These claims are bogus. Many analyses have highlighted the inadequacies of the research cited by the pro-GMO lobby, not least in terms of methodology, the glossing over of the significance of certain findings and conclusions that do not necessarily fit the evidence provided [1-3]. Moreover, numerous studies demonstrate the often worrying physiological abnormalities derived from ingesting GMOs as well as poor/falling yields, increased pesticide use, lower nutritional values and degraded soil and plant health (etc) associated with GM agriculture [4].

When certain pro-GMO figures proclaim that the debate over GMOs is over, their proclamations are based on propaganda, not science. They say that people who challenge their views are anti-science, politically motivated and are mounting a ‘campaign’ against the industry. Like all good propagandists, this is doublespeak.

Given the existing scientific evidence that challenges the claims of the pro-GMO lobby, a rational and reasonable response would involve applying a precautionary approach to GMOs [5] because there is clearly no scientific consensus. Yet public safety concerns are regarded by the GMO lobby as a barrier to bringing its products to the commercial market and are to be sidelined by all means possible [6-9]. To justify this, it promotes the falsehood that GMOs are ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GMO products, which is certainly not the case [10].

It is therefore with good reason that concerned people have organised to ensure the precautionary principle is adopted or strengthened and to challenge the industry and officials that are driving the GMO agenda.

It is the GMO sector itself that is politically motivated, anti-science and mounting a campaign in favour of its products. Its faulty science has been challenged, and as a result it is unable to produce the evidence that would convince us that GMOs are safe and provide the benefits claimed. Little wonder the industry hides behind the notion of ‘commercial confidentiality’ to maintain a veil of secrecy over its own research that regulators too often accept at face value [11].

Having failed to win the day with science, it resorts to placing restrictions on independent research into its products, censors findings, intimidates, smears, bribes, uses fakery and has successfully used its wealth and power to hijack regulatory bodies and co-opt bodies and officials who propagate lies on its behalf [12-15]. Yet it is those who highlight and challenge such tactics who are attacked for attempting to derail an industry which likes to portray itself as working for the public interest.

One of the main PR weapons used by the sector is that anti-GMO campaigners are taking food from the mouths of the hungry [16]. Let’s get one thing clear: GMOs are not the answer to feeding the world [17-22] and that type of emotional blackmail will only ever work on the ignorant, misinformed and those who believe the industry’s propaganda.

There is enough scientific evidence to warrant serious concern over GMOs. After all, evidence is mounting that some of these companies may have already been poisoning us for decades with their cocktail of agricultural inputs [23,24].

However, it is easy for the layperson to become confused by an endless parade of studies claiming to back up one or other side of the debate. For that reason, sometimes they have to look beyond science to sharpen their focus. They have to look at motives. They must ask who is controlling the GMO agenda? For what purpose? What is the track record of those involved? Should we ever in a million years trust certain players given their criminal record [25]?

Commercial concerns are driven by profit. Capitalism compels companies to capture and maintain market shares. However, cartels, price rigging, threats, cronyism and having politicians in your back pocket are a much better guarantee to seize and dominate markets than any economic model taught in textbooks and based on the ‘free’ market being determined by supply and demand. Such economic theory is the smokescreen that modern day neoliberalism tries (but fails) to hide behind [26]. As far as the GMO issue is concerned, however, there is much more to it than the need to make a fast buck.

There is a reason why well-known proponents (Rockefeller, Gates) of depopulation and eugenics are involved with the GMO sector; there is a reason why these very people have funded a giant seed bank on an island in the Arctic [27,28]. There is a sinister side to this industry, which points to a heady mix of US geopolitical hegemony based on the global control of agriculture, the hijack of the world’s seeds and food supply and depopulation [29].

If the science around GMOs is confusing to some, then ambiguity is what powerful corporations want: the tobacco industry was happy for the waters to be muddied for decades over the link to lung cancer. But if ambiguity over the efficacy of GMOs does indeed reign, the underlying politics is much clearer to grasp.