Allow Unbiased Research on Genetically Modified Crops

Target: Dr. Robert W. Taylor — USDA National Agricultural Research Advisor

Goal: Take down the legislative wall preventing independent research of genetically modified foods.

Federal laws, GM seed producers, and wary farmers are making it nearly impossible for scientists to conduct accurate research on genetically modified foods.  Readily available for consumption and most often unlabeled, GM foods need to be thoroughly researched in order to flush out potential health hazards.  Urge Dr. Robert Taylor to act on the concerns of scientists across the nation and lobby for laws that allow independent research of genetically modified foods.

Under U.S. law, genetically engineered crops are inventions that can be patented.  A patent gives the owner of a product control over many aspects of its use, including who can study it and how.  This means that while universities and scientists can freely purchase normal seeds and crops, they must obtain permission from companies selling genetically engineered seeds.  This permission is often denied, and even if scientists get their hands on the seeds and perform their research the seller can review and refute any findings before they are published.

It all boils down to a conflict of interest.  Because it is so hard to do outside research on transgenic crops, the Department of Agriculture does not perform its own experiments on the safety of these products before sending them to market.  It must instead rely largely on studies submitted by the companies themselves.

In 2009, 26 frustrated university scientists from around the country wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency protesting restricted access to seeds.  “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops,” they wrote.  Four years after this outspoken and risky protest, nothing has been done to change the laws.

It is time to face the real facts about genetically modified foods, whatever they may be.  The United States Department of Agriculture must end the obscurity surrounding GM research.  Sign this petition and urge Dr. Robert Taylor to lobby for this change.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Robert Taylor,

For many years, it has been next to impossible to conduct accurate, independent research on genetically modified crops.  Major transgenic crop producers like Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta, and Monsanto have used their patents on transgenic seeds to severely limit research and release of information about their products by any outside entity.

Technology and Stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically engineered seeds explicitly prohibit research.  In order to provide the public with unbiased information about the food they are consuming, the laws enabling requirement of such agreements must be revisited.  As a member of the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEEAB), you are in excellent position to lobby for this change.

With research proving genetically modified foods can be harmful to many mammals, it is time to face the unbiased facts about these foods no matter what they are.  It is the right of every American citizen to have access to full disclosure of any harm that might come to them from consuming food so readily available.  I urge you to impress this right upon the NAREEEAB and take action to see that it is granted.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

photo credit: illuminating9_11 via Flickr

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Signatures

  • Susana Konjicija
  • Denise Gaal
  • Joanna Korbecki
  • Meredith Bartholomew
  • Alexander Heye
  • Briana Fluke
  • Adam Robbins
  • Rosalee Ruediger-Hamelin
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