Dr. Oz sows seeds of mistrust on genetic engineering

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shutterstock_182088206 copyIn his latest slate.com article, ACSH friend and former trustee Dr. Henry Miller, and co-author Kavin Senapathy, criticize television doctor Mehmet Oz for his fearmongering in his March 10 episode titled The Non-Browning GMO Apple: Is It Safe? In the episode, which discussed the Arctic apple, Oz attempted to foment totally unwarranted consumer apprehension about the apple and GMOs in general.

Oz made a failed attempt to appear balanced on this episode by interviewing Neal Carter, longtime apple-grower and founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the biotech company that created the Arctic apple. While Carter explained how the apple resists browning (and why this isn t at all dangerous to consumers), so-called genetic engineering expert Michael Hansen, who was also a featured guest, questioned if turning off the non-browning traits could also turn off other genes. Miller and Senapathy write, Testing has shown that it doesn t, and that the Arctic apple is indistinguishable from its unmodified cohorts, except for lower levels of the enzymes that mediate browning. After Oz gave Carter a backhanded compliment for his transparency (as if other biotech proponents are deceitful or purposely ambiguous), he immediately returned to his campaign to push the argument that consumers have the right to know if GMOs are in their food.

The authors' closing statement echoes what ACSH has been saying for quite some time now: Touting consumer choice as a right is a subterfuge. When there is sufficient demand, market forces provide labels that people want, like kosher, halal, or organic. Dr. Oz might think he can emulate Dorothy by clicking his heels three times and making his claims true and he may have luck convincing others that they are but science and common sense argue otherwise.

Henry Miller s and Kavin Senapathy's article not only calls out Oz on his obvious bias on the topic of GM foods, but also explains the facts that Oz and his anti-GMO experts either don t understand or intentionally misrepresent to promote their own agendas.