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What Scientists Say

Worldwide scientists are confident that new technology will help address the needs of future generations.  While scientists understand the concern some members of the public have about the risks of new products, they are confident that regulatory processes will help ensure that only safe and tested new products are delivered for general use.  Here are some statements by prominent scientists and scientific groups.

International Society of African Scientists, Position Statement adopted at a technical conference held on October 5, 2001, Potential Benefits of Biotechnology to Agriculture in Africa and the Caribbean (2001).
"The International Society of African Scientists (ISAS) believes that agricultural biotechnology represents a major opportunity to enhance the production of food crops, cash crops, and other agricultural commodities in Africa, the Caribbean and other developing nations."

American Seed Trade Association, ASTA Position Statement on Genetically Modified Plant Varieties.
"ASTA strongly supports the safe use of new modern genetic methods in the continuing effort to improve crop varieties. The safety of crops modified by modern biotechnology is ensured through a most rigorous and comprehensive set of regulatory systems. The resulting varieties hold great promise for improving the food and feed supply of the world and promoting environmental sustainability, just as past accomplishments of plant breeders have benefited the world."

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), Market Access Issues for GM Products, July 2003
"There is no strong evidence to suggest that GM grains ... are not finding markets throughout the world. GM producing countries already dominate the world grain trade ... [and] there is limited evidence of willingness of consumers to pay higher prices for products that are certified to not contain GM materials."

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug (Nobel Prize Laureate for Peace 1970). 2000. Ending world hunger. The promise of biotechnology and the threat of antiscience zealotry. Plant Physiology 124: 487-490.
"The affluent nations can afford to adopt elitist positions and pay more for food produced by the so-called natural methods; the 1 billion chronically poor and hungry people of this world cannot. New technology will be their salvation, freeing them from obsolete, low-yielding, and more costly production technology."

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Agricultural Biotechnology and the Poor Report, Section One, "Agricultural Biotechnology and the Poor: Promethean Science," by G.J. Persley (2000).
"[M]olecular biology and other tools of modern biotechnology add elegance and precision to the pursuit of solutions to thwart poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity in too many countries around the world. In agriculture these enemies are manifest as pests, diseases, drought and other biotic and abiotic stresses that limit the productivity of plants and animals."

Crop Science Society of America, CSSA Perspective on Biotechnology (August 2001).
"Agricultural production has profound effects by transforming our environment, human health, the economy, and human culture. The Crop Science Society of America supports education and research in all aspects of crop production, including the judicious application of biotechnology."

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statement on Biotechnology (March 2000).
"Biotechnology provides powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as the food industry. When appropriately integrated with other technologies for the production of food, agricultural products and services, biotechnology can be of significant assistance in meeting the needs of an expanding and increasingly urbanized population in the next millennium."

Institute of Food Science and Technology, Position Statement, Genetic Modification and Food (1999).
"Genetic modification (GM) has the potential to offer very significant improvements in the quantity, quality and acceptability of the world's food supply."

International Association of Plant Breeders (ASSINSEL), Position Paper on Genetically Enhanced Plant Varieties for Food and Feed Uses (May 31, 2001).
"ASSINSEL supports the use of gene transfer in the continuing effort to improve plant varieties. The safety of genetically enhanced plant varieties is ensured through a most rigorous and comprehensive set of regulatory systems. The resulting genetically enhanced plant varieties hold great promise for improving the food and feed supply of the world and promoting environmental sustainability, just as past accomplishments of plant breeders have benefited the world."

Nuffield Council on Bioethics (U.K.), Genetically Modified Crops: The Ethical and Social Issues (May 1999).
"The scope of improvements offered by genetic modification in the future is much wider and consumer benefits much more evident. However, concentrating exclusively on the safety and environmental impact of GM crops in the UK and Europe may distract both the public and governments from giving proper attention to the benefits they could bring to developing and developed countries."

Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Science and the Future of Mankind: Science for Man and Man for Science, "Study Document on the Use of 'Genetically Modified Food Plants' to Combat Hunger in the World" by Nicola Cabibbo (2001).
"Contrary to common perception, there is nothing intrinsic to the genetic modification of plants that causes products derived from them to be unsafe. The products of gene alteration, just like the products of any modification, need to be considered in their own right and individually tested to see if they are safe or not. "

Society of Toxicology Position Paper, The Safety of Foods Produced Through Biotechnology (2002).
"There is no reason to suppose that the process of food production through biotechnology leads to risks of a different nature than those already familiar to toxicologists or that cannot also be created by conventional breeding practices for plant, animal or microbial improvement. It is therefore important to recognize that it is the food product itself, rather than the process through which it is made, that should be the focus of attention in assessing safety."

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