GMWatch: Portal

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Welcome to the GMWatch Portal (incorporating LobbyWatch) on Powerbase—providing an A-Z list of articles on the people and groups behind the push for GM crops and food.

The editors of the GMWatch portal are Claire Robinson (claire.robinson AT powerbase.info) and Jonathan Matthews.

Please read General Disclaimer

Comments on GMWatch/LobbyWatch

"If you want to know how the world works, this is the place to start. I cannot think of a more necessary set of facts than these. LobbyWatch permits us to peer into the crucible of politics, to see how public perceptions and government policies are smelted and forged by corporations and their front organisations."

– Journalist, broadcaster and author George Monbiot

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What is wrong with GM?

When GM crops and foods were first introduced in the late 1990s, scientists raised concerns that genetic modification was imprecise and unpredictable and could result in harm to health and the environment. They warned that:

  • GM could create foods that are toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than their non-GM counterparts
  • GM crops could damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations
  • GM plants cannot be recalled, but as living organisms will propagate, transmitting any damaging properties from generation to generation
  • GM crops could cause irreversible alterations to the food supply, with serious consequences for the environment and human and animal health.

Subsequent events and a growing body of scientific evidence have shown each of these concerns to be correct (see GMO Myths and Truths). But the biotech industry and its supporters have engaged in a global PR campaign to promote this technology, undermine concerns, and attack those raising them.

The issues

The GMWatch portal exists to expose the often undisclosed vested interests of the people and groups that push GM technology.

GMOs are promoted around the world on the back of:

  • false claims and hype
  • suppression of inconvenient scientific findings
  • denial of on-the-ground experiences of farmers around the globe, and
  • persecution of whistleblowers.

Consumer pressure and scientific concerns have largely kept the GM foods and crops that are meant for humans out of Europe, although millions of tons of GMOs enter Europe each year in the form of GM animal feed. Unlike GM foods meant for humans, these "stealth GMOs" do not have to be labelled and remain hidden from consumers (see GMO Myths and Truths).

Once it became clear that Europe was largely closed to the growing of GM crops, the industry and its supporters targeted developing country markets, which had been given an unexpected commercial importance. This meant developing country lobbyists became key symbolic players in debates about GM crops, and in assisting the branding of the technology – see Third World Lobbyists (GM).

Articles

An A-Z list of articles on the people and groups behind the push for GM crops and food is here.

Or search by category:

References and Resources

Websites:

GMWatch sends out daily, weekly or monthly email bulletins that give all the latest news and comment on GM foods and crops, with particular emphasis on exposing the lies and deception behind the global push for GM technology. Subscription to bulletins is free.

GM Freeze is a campaigning organisation based in the UK that has details on all the latest actions that people can take to oppose the spread of GM foods and crops.

Greenpeace International Genetic Engineering Campaign has details on the latest campaigns with easy and quick-to-do email actions to help keep our food supply free from GM contamination.

Biosafety Information Centre, run by the Third World Network, has information and downloadable briefing papers on biosafety problems with GM crops and foods worldwide.

Bioscience Resource Project is a user-friendly website with all the latest science stories on GM crops and food. Includes critiques of corporate 'junk' science, exposures of conflicts of interest, and news on the persecution of whistleblowers.

Ban GM Food is a campaign-oriented website geared to Europe. It has details of how to take action and downloadable leaflets that people can print out at home and distribute. Emphasis is on scientifically accurate and well-referenced information.

GM Contamination Register: Because no official body is keeping track of GM contamination events worldwide, GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace have stepped into the gap with this up-to-date register.

Will GM crops deliver benefits to farmers? is an informative web page on farmers' experiences and agronomic research on GM crops.

ISIS – Institute of Science in Society is the place to go for science in the service of social and environmental sustainability.

Books:

Guy Cook, Genetically Modified Language: The Discourse of Arguments for GM Crops and Food, Routledge, 2004. An analysis of how proponents of GM food and crops manipulate language to frame the debate to their advantage.

Andy Rees, Genetically Modified Food: A Short Guide for the Confused, Pluto Press, 2006. An invaluable introduction to the issues. Accessible but does not compromise on scientific and factual accuracy.

Andrew Rowell, Don't Worry, It's Safe to Eat, Earthscan, 2003. This investigation of science, politics and our food production system exposes the bogus science, political interference and flawed policies that threaten our food supply. Includes a thorough examination of various GM scandals. See Immoral Maize: Extract from Don't Worry, It's Safe to Eat by Andrew Rowell

Jeffrey Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods, Yes! Books, 2006. A masterpiece of science communication which should be required reading for all those who pretend that there is no evidence of harm from GM foods. It's laid out so that you can get the point of each chapter whether you skim, read in slightly more detail, or want all the small print. You don't have to be a scientist to understand it.

Jeffrey Smith, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Food You're Eating, Green Books, 2004; originally published by Yes! Books, USA, 2003.

References

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