Biotechnology Seed Companies Accused of Thwarting Research
As anyone who has ever heard about what companies like Monsanto do behind closed doors would already know, biotechnology remains a gray, and apparently somewhat shady, area. There are growing concerns over the safety of biotech crops and their potentially detrimental consequences to the environment and human health.
Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops, according to an unusual complaint issued by a group of those scientists.
“No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions,” the scientists wrote in a statement submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. is seeking public comments for scientific meetings it will hold next week on biotech crops.
Now, if these companies didn't have anything to hide, wouldn't they be more than happy to have researchers back up their positive claims? These companies are often far less than transparent; they are downright secretive. Check out this recent article about superweeds and GMOs to see what kind of controversy biotechnology has been causing.
In the contractual agreements between corporations and the buyers of genetically engineered seeds, it is outlined that growing GMO crops for research is prohibited. Does this set off alarm bells for anyone else? Seed companies must grant explicit permission to researchers for studies, permitting companies to either "review" research findings before they are published or deny permission altogether.
Such agreements have long been a problem, the scientists said, but they are going public now because frustration has been building.
“If a company can control the research that appears in the public domain, they can reduce the potential negatives that can come out of any research,” said Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, who was one of the scientists who had signed the statement.
This is a multifaceted issue, but what it comes down to is the same old routine of corporations putting profits ahead of people. Companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred use excuses like intellectual property rights to keep scientific researchers and the public alike from knowing the truth about what biotechnology can possibly do to the world's food supply. Scary.
Most Recommended Comment
Canmore, Alberta, Canada