The agricultural biotechnology companies that develop genetically modified seeds Monday announced the formation of a new website to help consumers understand GMOs and how food is grown.
The site, www.GMOanswers.com, is a resource for information about GMOs, their background and use in agriculture. Research and data will also be available.
Companies involved in the site's production are BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Collectively, the group is called The Council for Biotechnology Information.
Cathleen Enright, Ph.D., spokesperson for GMO Answers, said the topic of GMOs has a wide range of questions and emotions associated with it.
"Food is personal, so we want to open the door for personal discussions. We recognize we haven't done the best job communicating about GMOs—what they are, how they are developed, food safety information—the science, data and processes," she said. "We want people to join us and ask their tough questions. Be skeptical. Evaluate the information and decide for yourself. We look forward to an open conversation."
Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director, International Biotechnology Program, University of California Davis, said an open conversation is necessary to advance food and agriculture research to ensure everyone access to the highest-quality food.
"Having grown up on a small farm and spent much of my life in academia I can relate to the issues on several levels. I've offered to address questions submitted to GMO Answers openly, based on my personal insights, experience and research," she said.
"We feel consumers have every right to ask questions about how their food is grown, and they deserve an open and honest response so that they can make informed decisions."
The group is currently inviting the public to ask questions about GMOs on the site. Scientists, health and safety professionals, farmers, and other independent experts will answer the questions.
In addition to collecting questions online, the group will be conducting a nationwide survey to find out the top 10 questions consumers have about GMOs, then answer them publicly.