If you're a scientist and public communicator, you are putting yourself in professional and personal danger. And as Kevin Folta's case shows, things are only getting worse.
The FDA is supposed to regulate absence claims. But when it comes to GMO absence claims, the FDA has done absolutely nothing. That may be about to change.
Not that any of this matters to the people who get paid to lie about biotechnology. But to those activists, the scientific consensus on glyphosate is simply evidence of a gigantic Monsanto-led conspiracy. That would somehow involve the U.S. EPA, the European Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organization -- and now Brazil's national health agency, all of which agree that glyphosate doesn't cause cancer.
Russian trolls and the Organic Consumers Association both spread anti-vaccine propaganda and conspiracy theories in an effort to undermine American technology. Worse yet, they actively collude with one other.
In 2017, Amazon bought Whole Foods. Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, built his billion-dollar empire on technology. Therefore, you might expect that Whole Foods would become a little friendlier to biotech. But if you did that, you would be wrong.
How can you identify a scientifically ignorant person? Ask him if he's concerned about the health effects of GMOs. If the answer is yes, you've identified somebody who probably couldn't pass an 8th grade science test. Too harsh? Not according to the latest Pew poll.
The famous vodka company cashes in on the anti-science movement, announcing that it was renouncing GMO corn in its famous "No. 21 vodka." What's wrong with GMO corn? Nothing. In fact, it's a net positive for the environment.
Gene editing – a brilliant demonstration of how basic research can yield world-revolutionizing technology – is seen as unsafe in Europe. The good news is that some scientists aren't going to sit idly by while Europe attempts to destroy an entire field of scientific research. The scientists are striking back.
GMOs are completely safe. Insisting otherwise is intellectually indefensible. Yet, the University of California-San Francisco remains a stubborn holdout against reality. UCSF is nothing short of the academic home of the anti-GMO movement. In fact, the university is so dedicated to this position that it openly collaborates with conspiracy theorists.
According to PETA, veggie burgers cause cancer because of their iron content. Using their logic, so does soy and spinach.
It's time to turn the forces of political correctness against themselves. If society is going to be in the dubious business of banning words, then we ought to do that because they're factually incorrect – rather than politically incorrect. And there's no better place to start than with the abbreviation "GMO."