Press Release: Rethinking GMOs, biotech industry encourages Europeans to engage

22.01.2013

Rethinking GMOs, biotech industry encourages Europeans to engage

Scientific consensus on safety of GM crops is overwhelming

Brussels: Tuesday, 22 January, 2013: Today, EuropaBio encourages Europeans to reconsider the discussion on GMOs. 2012 saw the emergence of significant support for GM crops from a variety of new people and organisations. Simultaneously, the industry recognised its obligation to engage with the public and clearly communicate the scientific consensus for GM crops and their benefits in a changing world.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Director of Agricultural Biotechnology at EuropaBio said, “The scientific consensus on GM crops is even greater than that for climate change. It is critical that we work to engage with the public to overcome any misunderstandings related to the technology. We need to help people understand how they and the environment can benefit from including GM in the European farmer’s agricultural toolkit. We share this responsibility with those food and feed companies whose products contain GM ingredients, and with national and European authorities who need to play a bigger role in public communications.”

As a step towards greater public engagement, EuropaBio has produced a new brochure entitled ‘Science not fiction: Time to think again about GM’ that provides an overview of the debate in Europe to date.  It provides insights into the acceptance challenges of the past, the process of re-establishing ‘fact over fear’, and the role of scientists, policymakers, the food chain, media and other stakeholders over the last 20 years.

Du Marchie Sarvaas added, “The amazing thing is that people harbour fears about GM crops, but don’t know why they have these opinions.  By revisiting the origins of the debate we hope to enable people to review their perspectives in the light of what we know today.”

EuropaBio’s brochure outlines that the suspicion surrounding GM crops and other agricultural innovations is often driven by marketing imagery. “Today we have a wide variety of healthy, nutritious and delicious food available to us because of the innovations of the past. People have forgotten that seed breeding is at the root of this on-going development.  We can’t continue to tell people that organic and conventional crops are somehow ‘original’ and GM is ‘other’.  All of these seeds have been purposefully bred to improve our agriculture and food supply.  GM is just another technique, but one that we need, in order to reduce the climatic and environmental impact of farming, whilst feeding a growing population”.

 

-OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE-

To download the brochure or for more information on this discussion, please visit the seed.feed.food Facebook page or follow on Twitter.Share your views with us on Twitter, using the hashtag #thinkGMO.

Learn more about GMOs and take part in our Facebook and Twitter quiz, starting on Thursday, 24 January.

EuropaBio is also already planning a number of events and discussion platforms on various topics related to GM crops, including development and trade.  For more information on these events or to register your interest in attending, please send your name and contact details to Nilsy Desaint n.desaint@europabio.org.

 

-MORE-

For further information, please contact:

 

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas

Director, Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio

Tel: +32 2 739 11 85

Mobile: +32 473 890 359

Email: c.dmsarvaas@europabio.org

 

Nilsy Desaint

Communications Manager, Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio

Tel: +32 2 739 11 62

Mobile: +32 473 334 875

Email: n.desaint@europabio.org

 

About EuropaBio:

EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 56 corporate members, 14 associate members and Bio Regions and 19 National Biotechnology Associations- representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises across Europe. 

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