The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the controversial legislation surrounding GMO labeling were hot discussion topics at the 2016 Commodity Classic, with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressing the issue during the event, as well as several commodity groups.
In the trade show, the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) had a booth dedicated to GMO Answers, an initiative that works to make credible, accurate information on GMOs easier for consumers to find, addresses consumer concerns and misconceptions about the technology, and provides resources to help farmers feel more comfortable talking about GMOs with consumers.
“Farmers are the most trusted voices, and the most important spokesperson on this issue,” said Kate Hall, Managing Director for CBI, at an interview during the 2016 Commodity Classic. “We want to make sure they have what they need to communicate clearly, whether it’s through social media or one-on-one conversations, because the farmers voice is the most important in this conversation.”
Consumers are invited to visit the GMO Answers website to ask questions and voice their concerns about GMO technology. GMO Answers has pledged to answer every question they receive, and has enlisted volunteer farmers, nutritionists, doctors, and academics to help answer consumer questions and concerns. The site also provides studies, articles, and other educational materials on the use of biotechnology in agriculture, and addresses frequently voiced concerns about the health and safety of GMOs.
The organization will continue bringing the experts to consumers through a nationwide farmers market tour this summer, where they will work with local farmers at multiple farmers markets across the country to talk with consumers about GMOs. They are also working with Scientific American to host an event on the way science is portrayed in the media on March 31st in Washington, DC.
“This event won’t just cover GMOs, but also vaccines and climate change, all of the issues where we’re seeing a juxtaposition between what the science says and science denialism, and how that’s affecting people’s perception about these issues,” said Hall.
Listen to my full interview with Kate here:
Interview with Kate Hall, GMO Answers