Fears about genetically modified crops, herbicide misguided, scientist says

Long-standing concerns that genetically modified crops and the herbicide glyphosate – sold commercially as Roundup – pose dire threats to people are driven by emotions but not backed up by science, according to a recent column in the National Review.

The author, Joseph Perrone, chief science officer at the Center for Accountability, described the negativity surrounding the altered crops as part of the phenomenon known as "post-truth," in the column, an article posted on the Biotechnology Innovation Organization's (BIO) website said. The fact is, genetic engineering can be helpful to farmers and make food more convenient by "inserting, removing, or altering genes to create a favorable trait," Perrone said in the BIO article, adding that these in vitro changes can create plants that are more resistant to drought and weed killer and can help delay spoilage.

The herbicide glyphosate has been the world’s most widely used herbicide for many years, and Perrone said it has many benefits, including conserving water, which also minimizes erosion, and reducing the need for extensive tilling, the BIO article said. It has twice passed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) risk assessment.

Perrone said one of the reasons the herbicide and crops have been disparaged is the constant need for news and the lack of real reporting, the article said. He said the rush to get the new and fresh onto newscasts means a lack of research and scientific agreement.

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