"How the Risks of GMOs Have Been Consistently Underestimated and Misrepresented" is the theme of the presentation given by Steven Druker at the Silicon Valley Health Institute on August 17, 2017.
Contrary to the claims of its proponents, producing new varieties of food through genetic engineering entails higher risks to human health than does traditional breeding; and the arguments that have been advanced to convince the public otherwise are seriously misleading. Even reports by the US National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society cannot withstand scrutiny, and analysis reveals that they rely on misrepresentation of facts and fallacious reasoning.
Moreover, the routine claim that all respected scientists and scientific organizations regard GE foods to be as safe as conventional ones is demonstrably false. For instance, the British Medical Association, the Public Health Association of Australia, the editors of The Lancet (a premier medical journal), and the Royal Society of Canada have all expressed concerns about the risks.
Further, although a substantial number of well-conducted studies published in peer-reviewed journals have detected statistically significant harm to the laboratory animals that consumed GE food, the proponents of these products have unjustly attacked — and deceptively described — this research. Indeed, the well-documented (and irrefutable) fact that the evidence has been systematically misrepresented attests to how strongly it raises legitimate concerns, because if it were truly supportive of safety, there would have been no need to distort it.
The degree of risk is even more striking when bioengineering is examined from the perspective of computer science. While computer scientists have gained substantial knowledge about the inescapable risks of altering complex information systems, and established precautionary measures for managing those risks, the biotechnicians have routinely disregarded this knowledge and violated the related precautionary principles — despite the fact that the cellular information systems they reconfigure are far bigger, far more complex, and far less understood. Indeed, compared to the meticulous manner in which software engineers revise life-critical information systems that they themselves have created, the radical way in which biotechnicians have been altering complex cellular information systems stands out as not merely risky, but reckless.
Steven Druker is a public interest attorney who founded the Alliance for Bio-Integrity and, as its executive director, initiated a lawsuit that forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to divulge its files on genetically engineered (GE) foods. This revealed that politically influenced administrators had covered up the extensive warnings of their own scientists about the abnormal risks, misrepresented the facts, and then allowed these novel products onto the market without requiring the testing that’s mandated by federal food safety law.
He is a prominent commentator on the risks and regulatory issues of GE foods and has served on the food safety panels at conferences conducted by the National Research Council and the Food and Drug Administration; been a featured speaker at symposia at the British House of Commons and the National Congress of Brazil and at press conferences sponsored by the Brazilian Medical Association, the Swedish Consumers Association, and concerned members of the European Parliament; and appeared on numerous television and radio programs — and been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles — across the globe.
He has been invited to speak at many universities (including Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Copenhagen) and has met with government officials world-wide, including the UK’s Environmental Minister, Canada’s Health Minister, and the heads of food safety for the UK, France, Ireland, and Australia. In addition, he was invited to confer at the White House Executive Offices with an interagency task force of President Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality.
His influential book, Altered Genes Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public, was released in March 2015 with a foreword by Jane Goodall hailing it as “without doubt one of the most important books of the last 50 years.” Among the other scientists who have praised it are David Schubert, a professor and laboratory director at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who has called it “incisive, insightful, and truly outstanding”; and Joseph Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, who extolled it as “a landmark” that “should be required reading in every university biology course.”
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