The GMO Debate

by Frank Rogers, Agribusiness major

As an Agribusiness student at Ohio State, I listen to both sides of the GMO (genetically modified organism) debate. My AgriComm class project included an assignment to do a presentation on a topic that we are passionate about. One group decided to present why GMO products are “bad for us,” and “not regulated because the White House wants to promote biotechnology.”

I was rather appalled by these statements that were being presented as facts. I know that from my Plant Pathology class GMO crops “are subjected to more testing than any other new crop variety,” (Adrianne Massey, 2013).

So when people claim that there is no regulation it rather upsets me, as according to Dr. Massey, the FDA, USDA, and EPA regulate GMO crops. These regulatory review processes can take up to 13 years, with up to six of those years being dedicated to safety data. So where do people get this information that says there is no regulation on the industry, and why do they feel it is credible?

There are several companies like Chipotle and organizations such as GreenPeace that use anti-GMO propaganda through the media, allowing the fear they’ve instilled to fuel their agenda.

Why is it propaganda you ask? I would say that it holds no water, has no true scientific backing, and is not fact-based. When doing research it is important to use information (data) that is backed by causation, instead of correlation alone. These two are often confused, or manipulated to show desired results. For example, it is easy to say that there are higher deaths related to cell phone use  since 2002, but there are also over a billion more cell phones now than there were in the past. That statement does not tell us anything about whether people have died from accidents caused by cell phone use.

So I’ll let you ponder this question: when is the last time someone you knew really did die from eating something a carrot, apple, or tomato because it was bred to last a little longer in the store?

This blog post was an assignment for  Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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