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Is the GMO Debate Advancing to a Higher Level?

By Keith Kloor
May 21, 2014 7:46 PMNov 20, 2019 5:13 AM


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I'm just catching up with several deeply reported articles on GMOs that are worth your attention. Molly Ball, a staff writer at The Atlantic, recently published a long piece that explores the swirling politics and emotions driving the GMO labeling campaign in the United States. She concludes:

The fight to label GM foods may not have science on its side, but in the political arena, it is quickly gaining ground.

Another nicely textured piece--this one by science writer Brooke Borel--has just appeared in Modern Farmer. She suggests that passions may be giving way to a more nuanced debate. Perhaps, but I think that's going to be a lot harder now that the GMO labeling movement is gaining momentum. As I have previously said, at its core that campaign is less about a "right to know" (which is a clever pretext) and driven more by health fears of genetically modified foods that have no scientific basis. And that fear train, I recently argued, has left the station. Still, if influential thought leaders and scientists who are in disagreement on GMOs can engage in a civil debate, as recently was the case in Berkley, then maybe a meaningful shift in tone and substance is underway.

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