Are there some unknown,
dangerous aspects about transgenic plants that have not been
There is no conclusive answer to this. All technologies present us with
possible risks that must be assessed as implementation proceeds. The
critics of GM foods never suggest what so-called unknown aspects are that
need to be tested. There is also no end to it. After a moratorium of five
years for more testing, critics would call for more tests since there may
still be something that they perceive to have been missed. All we can do
in the business is to try to consider all the problems and attempt to
determine if there might be an unknown risk and how much of a problem that
risk might pose.
It must be realized that crops at present on the market have been
extensively tested and shown to be safe. I have no doubt that this will
also apply to new products. No evidence of major problems has been
It has been suggested that, since the information on new products is
from industry, the data presented to the government will be biased.
However, this is the means by which all testing is dealt with by
government bodies. The government dictates the information it requires and
there is no evidence that it is ineffective. The cost to the taxpayer
would be enormous if the government were to attempt to perform all the
testing themselves and there is no evidence that the products would be
safer. It is in the best interest of the manufacturer to be honest with
the government and to provide accurate and complete information.
Everyone in the biotechnology industry obeys what is known as “good
laboratory practice” (GLP). GLP has very strict guidelines which requires
the company to keep accurate records, have laboratory books that are
signed daily by the researcher and supervisor and prohibits the use of
pencils and such accessories as correction fluid. Companies follow these
guidelines not just to ensure consumer safety but also to protect their
patents which are the most valuable resource a company possesses. Under
these conditions, it is very difficult to cheat.
Essentially, the agricultural biotechnology industry follows procedures
that have been established in the pharmacology industry.