This is a continuation of Green State TV’s short and sweet ‘GMO Mythbusting’ video series with plant geneticist Dr. Kevin Folta. Personally, I feel this is an especially good little vignette and well worth watching.
I have a high regard for Dr. Folta, as he once took the time to talk with me in detail about GMOs. The experience was so profound that I went from being scared of transgenic technology to understanding its value and potential. The entire journey unfolds here on this blog.
Below is a direct quote from Part 5 titled ‘Independent Scientists’ – words that quite aptly speak to the near constant anti-GMO accusation that anyone speaking in favor of GMOs must be an industry shill  – must certainly be under gag orders to never say anything negative about the technology nor expose the studies done ‘in secret’ regarding all the supposed health and environmental concerns. Folta also exposes the myth that certain DNA is held under lock and key by the industry and not available for sequencing.
Please anti-GMO crowd, the shill accusation thing is such a tired argument, and so utterly false! Consider the points Folta emphasizes in the quotes below. Bold emphasis is mine.
If one of the companies did something that [...] was not right or unethical, I’d throw them under the bus in a heartbeat. That’s the beauty of being an independent university scientist – nobody owns me. [...] I can do whatever I want. Nobody, there’s not a company on this planet that’s going to tell me what I can research and I can’t research. There’s not a company on this planet that can tell me what I can sequence and what I can’t and they’re not going to tell me what I can and can’t go public with, with respect to information. If there’s something that they’re doing that needs to be uncovered and talked about, I’ll talk about it. This is where all of us public scientists are. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to be that resource that the public can count on and trust as its intermediate.
Folta goes on to say the following:
Among public scientists there is absolutely no debate about the efficacy and safety of GM technology. If you go across any scientific organization, any one of our big societies, there is virtually a unanimous buy in that this is really good technology that needs to be promoted.
I don’t know how much more clear a person can be. I guess if you’re a non-scientist as I am, it boils down to whom to trust. Public scientists like Folta make college professor salaries and are not in a position to reap huge financial gains as GMOs continue to flood the market. Folta and his university colleagues worldwide are not Monsanto, not DuPont nor any of the other multi-nationals. They speak in favor of GMOs as a valuable tool because it’s what they study, what they know, what they do, and what they believe has potential now and for the future of food on planet Earth. Yes, they are contracted and funded for private research projects from time to time but these projects are a matter of public record and do not make up the bulk of what they do.
Let us not forget that university scientists are also teachers!
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 I have personally been accused of being paid by Monsanto on several occasions. After writing an article about touring a Monsanto facility while visiting Hawaii, it was said that they must have paid for my vacation. I can only say this – I wish!
Maybe, just maybe, people speak in favor of GMOs simply because they see value in them.