By Anna Meyers
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- While Congress hasn’t
accomplished much in
2017, it did manage to pass a budget resolution — and within that
budget, a sum
of $3 million stands out.
Congress appropriated that $3 million to fund the Agricultural
Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. That’s a
between the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department
Agriculture (USDA) “to provide consumer education on agricultural
and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology.”
What they’re really talking about is a promotional campaign
modified organisms, or GMOs.
There are two major flaws with this plan.
First, the FDA is tasked with building a campaign around the
benefits of crop biotechnology.” But what about the risks, concerns,
Leaving those out means using government agencies and taxpayer
corporate propaganda. It benefits companies like Monsanto, Dow, Dupont,
Syngenta, and Bayer, which collectively earn billions of dollars from
technologies, but does little to inform consumers.
Second, the initiative will push forward “science-based”
question is: Whose science are they using?
There’s very little independent or government research on GMOs
corresponding pesticides. The lack of unbiased and comprehensive
biotechnology is a result of corporations controlling who can do
Much of the existing research is either industry-funded or
straight out of
biotechnology companies’ own labs. The existing regulatory framework
voluntary reporting and doesn’t require independent verification to
safety of new products before they land on dinner plates across the
If the government’s going to educate consumers on
biotechnology, it must
first do its own unbiased studies on the long-term environmental and
impacts of existing GMOs and pesticides. It also needs a much more
and mandatory — regulatory process.
The government must tell consumers the full truth, presenting
unbiased information on the benefits, risks, and concerns around
The FDA must openly address consumer concerns about long-term
impacts, corporate influence on government research, and corporate
our industrialized food system.
We’re at a turning point in history where we can reverse the
harm that we’ve
done to our communities, farmland, and environment.
Industrialized, chemical-intensive agriculture designed to
biotechnology is a failed system. It’s increasing herbicide use,
pesticide resistance, polluting our waterways, soil, and air, and
highly processed food and confined animal production.
In order to build a more sustainable food system for our
health and our
climate, we need to move away from chemical-intensive agriculture.
promoting corporate interests, that $3 million would be much better
promote the transition to regenerative organic agriculture, to build
hubs, and to aid the next generation of farmers in accessing land and
The FDA doesn’t need a biotechnology marketing initiative. It
initiative to bring back public trust in federal regulatory agencies,
the country forward towards truly sustainable agriculture.
Meyer is the Food Campaigns Fellow at Green
America. This report first appeared at OtherWords.org and is reprinted