This is a follow-up to my last post on Fraudulence in Science and Politics which concluded with the obvious, i.e., that “Whether in science, the economy or in the media, data evaluation by people whose objectivity might be jeopardized by financial or other interests, will lead to corruption.”
The importance of this became clear when I watched the Insight program on SBS dealing with the problems of genetically modified crops. A wide variety of people participated in the discussion.
What struck me most was that, apparently, no animal experiments on the toxicity etc. of new products are required, and companies, not independent researchers, have to provide the evidence that their products are not harmful. The research conducted by these companies is to a large degree non-transparent, not subjected to peer review, and not published. In other words, rules are even less strict than in the pharmaceutic industry, where animal experiments followed by clinical tests have to be submitted to authorities before new drugs are even considered for approval.
Probably the most important objection against the wide use of genetically engineered crops is the monopolization of seed supply in the hands of very few huge companies (and in some cases a single company). It leads to disappearance of biodiversity and could – in the long term – have disastrous consequences not only for the environment but for the viability of small local farms. A few days ago a large international meeting in Paris concluded that the support of small local farmers was essential to overcome the present food crisis.