Do Genetically Engineered Foods Really Need to Be Regulated Less?

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 recently, 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 she states in her article that the regulatory bars of the EPA, USDA, and FDA are set too 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 agricecological 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 U.S.), improve the lives of farmers (not in India or the U.S.), 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), let’s 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 thereof) to demonstrate safety, and, as well explained in many of the above articles, the U.S. experience with GM crops has indeed led to environmental problems. Read More >