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Consumer Reports should stick to toaster ovens

If you want expert advice on purchasing a car, a toaster oven or a lawnmower, look no further than Consumer Reports. But if you want to know about GMOs and food safety, well, not so much.

In fact, the organization’s recent investigations of crops and biotechnology have been so defective and misleading, one wonders why it hasn’t launched an investigation of itself.

CR’s latest assault on biotechnology, noted the National Corn Growers Association, “contained several factual errors and promotes misinformation in a way that is counter to that publication’s stated mission.”

CR stated in its report, “You may be surprised to know that the federal government has not mandated that genetically modified organisms be proved safe before they’re used in your food.”

Nonsense, according to NCGA president and Maryland corn producer Chip Bowling. “GMO products undergo extensive, rigorous testing prior to approval. In the United States, there are two mandated steps to GMO approval, by USDA and EPA, when appropriate.

“All GMO products available today have gone through FDA testing for safety. The industry unanimously agrees that the FDA review must be completed before commercialization and actually meets FDA requirements prior to USDA and EPA review.”

CR also claimed that GMO crops have increased pesticide use, to which NCGA replied, “From 1996-2009, the use of biotechnology has reduced the amount of pesticides used by 379 million pounds.”

The NCGA urged CR editors to publicly correct its errors and, in the future, “commit itself to what it does best – help us find the right kitchen appliance.”

The CR also rolled out a survey, which concluded that over 70 percent of Americans don’t want GMOs in their food.

Surveyed Americans were asked to rate the importance of the following factors in their food purchasing decision.

  • Protecting the environment from chemicals such as pesticides.
  • Reducing exposure to pesticides in food.
  • Avoiding genetically engineered or modified ingredients.

I thought these objectives seemed skewed negatively toward agriculture, so I suggest we make them a bit more ag aware. My suggestions would be, in order.

  • The safe and proper use of chemicals to protect the nation’s food supply.
  • Establishing strict federal tolerances for chemicals to insure they are applied safely and effectively.
  • The use of genetic engineering to reduce overall pesticide use, protect crops against disease, insects, weeds and weather and increase profits for farmers all over the world.

I have little doubt the results of the survey would be dramatically different.


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