Of course, the public’s misgivings about GM food go beyond just the risk to health. Corporate control of the food supply, disenfranchisement of smallholder farmers, the potential adverse effects of GM varieties on indigenous flora and fauna, and the ‘contamination’ of crops grown on non-GM or organic farms all play into negative perceptions. And for better or worse, GM food is now inextricably linked in the public consciousness with Monsanto, which has seemingly vied with big tobacco as the poster child for corporate greed and evil.
What are industry and academic scientists to do about such attitudes?
Changing them will require a concerted and long-term effort to develop GM foods that clearly provide convincing benefits to consumers—something that seed companies have conspicuously failed to do over the past decade.
Well, yes. This was the situation in 2003 when I first wrote Safe Food, and nothing had changed by the second edition in 2010. Or by now, apparently.
This industry still depends on Golden Rice to save its reputation. Maybe it ought to start working on some of the other issues mentioned in this editorial.