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The Politics of GMOs: Sound Science vs. Sound Bites

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The Politics of GMOs: Sound Science vs. Sound Bites Canola Council of Canada Puerto Vallarta, Mexico March 23, 2004 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Politics of GMOs: Sound Science vs. Sound Bites


1
The Politics of GMOs Sound Science vs. Sound
Bites
  • Canola Council of Canada
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • March 23, 2004

2
Resistance to new technology is not new
Thomas Fairchild
3
We have recently advanced our knowledge of
genetics to a point where we can manipulate life
in a way never intended by nature. We must
proceed with the utmost caution in the
application of this new-found knowledge.
Resistance to new technology is not new
Luther Burbank
4
Resistance to new food is not new
Coffee was outlawed or restricted in Mecca,
Cairo, Istanbul, England, Germany and Sweden
The body becomes a mere shadow of its former
self it goes into a decline and dwindles away.
The heart and guts are so weakened that the
drinker suffers delusions, and the body receives
such a shock that it is though it were
bewitched. French doctors 1674
5
Resistance to new food is not new
6
Drumbeat of negative press
7
CBI vision
  • Improve peoples understanding and acceptance in
    order to create a marketplace that allows the
    world to benefit from the products of
    agricultural and food biotechnology

8
The reach
9
Global affiliates
  • Africa
  • Argentina
  • Australia/New Zealand
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Europe
  • India/ Southeast Asia
  • Japan
  • Korea

10
Sound science vs. sound bites
Demagoguery beats data in making public
policy. Rep. Dick Armey Former U.S. House
Majority Leader
Facts are stubborn things. John Adams 2nd
president of the United States
11
  • Documenting Adoption

12
Biotech crops gain ground with U.S., Canadian
farmers
Percentage
Source USDA, NASS
13
Global biotech acreage Double-digit growth for
seventh straight year
Acres
Source ISAAA
14
7 million farmers in 18 countries
15
GM crops show promise for developing world
Nuffield
  • In 1999, the Nuffield Council recommended that
    there was a moral imperative for making GM
    crops readily and economically available to
    people in developing countries who want them.
    We have no hesitation in affirming and
    expanding our previous conclusions.
  • Nuffield Council on Bioethics
  • (United Kingdom)

16
Documenting the Benefits
17
Total value of biotech crops in 2002 in the U.S.
was 20.9 billion
Iowa
3,816
Illinois
Minnesota
Nebraska
Indiana
South Dakota
Missouri
North Dakota
Arkansas
Ohio
Mississippi
Other
Source C. Ford Runge
18
Biotechnology Quality jobs
The average annual salary for ag and food science
workers in 2001 was 52,310 more than one and a
half times the U.S. average of 34,020.
C.Ford Runge University of Minnesota
19
Economic benefits in the United States
  • Adoption of six biotech crops has
  • Increased annual production by 4 billion pounds
  • Improved farmer income by 1.5 billion
  • Reduced pesticide spraying by 46 million pounds
  • National Center for Food
  • and Agricultural Policy

20
Potential economic benefits in the United States
  • Adoption of 32 additional cultivars could
  • Increase annual production by 10 billion pounds
  • Total 14 billion pounds
  • Reduce annual farmer costs by 1 billion
  • Total 2.5 billion
  • Reduce annual spraying by 117 million pounds
  • Total 163 million pounds
  • National Center for Food
  • and Agricultural Policy

21
Environmental benefits Sparing the plow
  • No-till acres increased 35 percent to 55 million
    acres since biotech crops introduced
  • Reduces soil erosion 1 billion tons per year
  • Saves 3.5 billion in water treatment and
    waterway maintenance
  • Saves farmers 309 million gallons of fuel per
    year
  • Improves wildlife habitat
  • Conservation Technology Information Center

22
Environmental benefits A smorgasbord
  • Prevent soil erosion by increasing no-till
    farming practices
  • Improve water quality through the use of more
    benign herbicides
  • Improve air quality through no-till farming
    that reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increase biodiversity through more no-till
    farming
  • More beneficial insects, more habitat for birds
    and other wildlife
  • Council of Agricultural
  • Science and Technology

23
Biotechnology Transforming agriculture
In 10 years or less, most American
environmentalists (European ones are more
dogmatic) will regard genetic modification as one
of their most powerful tools. ... The potential
upside of genetic modification is simply too
large to ignore and therefore environmentalists
will not ignore it. Biotechnology will transform
agriculture ... . Atlantic Monthly October
2003
24
Perception vs. Reality What do people really
think about biotech?
25
How research tracks progress
T I M E
I know biotechnology exists.
Awareness Agreement
Acceptance
26
Overall support steady Out of sight, out of mind
Would you say you strongly support, somewhat
support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose
using biotechnology to develop new varieties of
crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat
or are you neutral?
Monarch followed by StarLink
Percent support
The words and wheat were added to the
question in March 2002
27
Agreement with benefits Trend is positive
Percent who agree that each is true of
biotechnology
Healthier foods Renewable fuel resources Fewer
pesticides
General Public
28
Consumers have grown more certain about the long
term benefits of biotechnology.
The use of biotechnology in farming will be good
for our society in the long term, regardless of
what some people say now.
6 points AGREE
Total Agree/ Depends
- 8 points DK/ DEPENDS
29
Canada
30
Agreement with most biotech benefits remains
stable
Percent among general public who strongly or
somewhat agree
New meds
Hardier crops
More food
Less chems
Healthier foods
Renewable fuels
31
Biotech foods increasingly viewed as safe
Percent among general public who say GM crops are
Safer/safe as other crops/foods
Pt Chg
W1
W11
Dont Know 23 13 -10 Depends 2 5 3 Safe/Safer 40
47 7 Less Safe 35 35 0
Less safe than other crops/foods
32
Percentage who say biotech benefits outweigh
risks is increasing
General Public
Opinion Leaders
7
6
33
Over half (53) of Canadians are willing to
continue buying GM-labeled foods only 12 would
never buy again
8
- 8
Q13 If you noticed GM ingredients on the label
of a food product you regularly purchase, would
you?
34
Consumers prefer biotech sweet corn
  • Despite widespread perceptions of consumer
    concerns regarding the use of genetic engineering
    in food production, GE varieties outsold
    conventional sweet corn by a margin of 32.
  • University of Guelph
  • Food Safety Network

35
Mexico
36
Majority agrees with biotech benefits
Percent who strongly or somewhat agree
Q19a-e Im going to read you some statements.
Please tell me whether you strongly agree,
somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly
disagree with each of these, or do you not know?
Caution Due to sampling change for Wave 4
(Jun-03), cannot make trending statements against
Waves 1-3. Wave 4 excludes those not aware of
biotechnology.
37
Benefits only companies tops concerns
Percent who strongly or somewhat agree
Q19f-l Im going to read you some statements.
Please tell me whether you strongly agree,
somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly
disagree with each of these, or do you not know?
38
Concerns high about overall food safety
Q13 How much, if at all, do you worry that
foods you buy might not be safe to eat?
39
China, Mexico, Brazil and U.S. have most
favorable views of biotechnology
Percentage of support
Source Environics/GlobeScan
40
Europeans are reassessing their position on
biotechnology
  • Consumers are getting more balanced information
  • 2003
  • 43 percent heard from opponents
  • 41 percent heard from both sides equally
  • Only a 2 percent gap in the balance of
    information
  • 2002
  • 17 percent gap
  • 2001
  • 29 percent gap

Source ABE, 2003
41
Reassessing Fewer Europeans say biotech crops
and foods are less safe
Percentage of people who say biotech crops and
foods are less safe than other crops and food.
Percentage of support
Source CBI, June 2003
42
Reassessing More Europeans say dont know
when asked if they would buy biotech food
Percentage of respondents
Source ABE, June 2003
43
Indonesians expect the most biotech benefits over
next five years
Respondents were asked if they expected
biotechnology would provide benefits or no
benefits to either themselves or their families
in next five years.
Percent of respondents
Source Asian Food Information Council
44
Three fourths of Chinese and Indonesians say
biotechnology will improve nutrition
Percent of respondents
Source Asian Food Information Council
45
Majority would try biotech corn snack
Respondents were asked if they would try a
genetically modified corn snack.
Percent of respondents
Source Asian Food Information Council
46
Turning the tide 2004 headlines
  • Doctors 100 behind decision to allow GM maize
    Scotsman.com
  • Uganda gives cautious approval to GM food
    SciDev.net
  • Chile may expand range of genetically modified
    products Dow Jones
  • EU Food Agency clears Monsanto rapeseed The
    Ledger
  • GM food crops to be planted in weeks Sydney
    Morning Herald
  • China eyes GM food crops to cut costs Reuters
  • GM cotton farming in SA a success Business
    Day
  • Premier for GM foods in Sweden Oresund Food
    Excellence

47
Turning the tide 2004 headlines
  • World biotech plantings increase by 15 pct
    Reuters
  • Double-digit record growth continues for biotech
    crops worldwide, says ISAAA report
    DallasNews.com
  • GM technology transforms farming Ontario
    Farmer
  • Ontario farmers continue to increase their use
    of biotechnology AgCare

48
Challenges Ahead
  • Lack of awareness, information
  • New product acceptance
  • Wheat
  • Animal biotech
  • Trade disputes/market access
  • Chronic hunger, poverty

49
Jury is still out . . .
June 2003
Heard little/nothing about biotechnology 66
Benefit Awareness Dont know Less
Pesticides 39 More food 20 Healthier
food 32 Hardier crops 29 Renewable
fuels 42 Agree with concerns Dont know
Health risks 30 Environmental risks 33
Inadequate testing 33 Inadequate
regulations 37 Safety of biotech foods/crops
Dont Know 21 Benefits outweigh risks Dont
Know 19 Good for society in long term Dont
Know 20 Support GM foods Neutral 25 Support
biotech crops - Neutral 22
Awareness
Benefits
Concerns
Acceptance
50
Support grows with knowledge Percent who support
biotech to
Develop new varieties of crops
Genetically modify foods
June 03
51
Council for Biotechnology Information
www.whybiotech.com
  • Helping improve peoples understanding of the
    benefits of agricultural and food biotechnology

52
The Politics of GMOs Sound Science vs. Sound
Bites
  • Canola Council of Canada
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • March 23, 2004
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