Written by Susanne Somersalo, Ph.D., Esq., patent attorney at Gearhart Law
Genetically modified foods are slow to gain acceptance in some quarters – some argue that no one knows exactly how the natural foods have been changed and what they’ll do to our bodies and health if we ingest them. Others argue that the modifications are an important step forward, protecting crops and ensuring continuity of our food supply, with no effect on human or animal health. Still others are pushing for labeling that indicates whether a food has been treated with this technology so consumers can make an informed choice.
The biotechnology industry has received many patents on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and hopes to capitalize on them by growing and selling the modified foods. The industry is trying to calm the fears surrounding this technology by providing as much information as possible on a new website, www.GMOAnswers.com.
The discussion about genetically modified organisms has been active for decades. Even if genetic modification is a commonly used practice in various industries, including, among others, the chemical, medical, and pharmaceutical industries, the discussion and concerns are typically about genetically modified crops and food.
The first genetically modified plants were made in 1985 and the first genetically modified plant products came on the market in the early 1990s. Ever since, consumers have had questions and concerns about health issues, environmental issues, labeling issues and intellectual property issues.
In order to respond to the questions and concerns that consumers may have about genetically modified organisms, the biotech industry has launched a website www.GMOAnswers.com to answer any questions related to genetic modification.
The website provides basic information about genetically modified organisms, including cultivation of GMO-crops and available safety data. Obviously in the future other topics will be included too. Anyone visiting the website can ask any question about GMOs and can expect an answer from an expert.
The biotechnology industry has at times been accused of hiding information. The goal of the newly launched website is to abolish such accusations and provide factual information. Whether this openness has any effect on the anti-GMO movement will be seen; opponents and critics may dismiss information coming from the industry as being biased. For anyone who has a question or concern the website is a great place to start getting information and answers.