We’re churning out back-to-back-to-back questions here right now with The Walk a Mile Project “Questions-Investigation-Truth” machine, and this next question relates to a pivotal term in the world of GMOs, one way or another, known as Substantial Equivalence.
Substantial Equivalence was and is a massive component of GMO regulation in the United States. And we’ve learned so much about Monsanto over the past several weeks here that I thought we should go straight to the GMO Pioneers for their take on this whole concept of a GMO crop being “substantially equivalent.” Here is what Monsanto says on their website:
As long as the introduced gene protein is determined safe (an initial step in the safety assessment) and the GM and non-GM crops are alike in all respects, the GM crop is said to be substantially equivalent, or “equal to,” their conventional counterparts and are not expected to pose any health risks. Experts in the field of food safety are satisfied that this approach is sufficient and reliable to assure the GM crops are as safe [as] their conventional counterparts. This expert community does not see a need and thus does not recommend long-term tests in humans in order to establish food safety.”
Here’s a direct link if you’d like to read more about it:
Now let’s look at a bit of a counter viewpoint to the Monsanto website statement. It’s an excerpt from an interview between journalist/documentary filmmaker MARIE-MONIQUE ROBIN, and former FDA employee Dr. James Maryanski. The clip is from Marie’s film THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO. James Maryanski was the Biotechnology Coordinator at the FDA from 1985 until 2006 – which means he held that position in 1992 when the whole substantial equivalence concept became part of official FDA policy.
So we’ve got Monsanto telling us that a community of experts completely backs substantial equivalence, and then we’ve got an FDA official telling us that substantial equivalence was a political decision, not one even based on science. Somewhere in all of that sits the truth…
And you can bet we’ll be digging into that for as long as it takes to uncover the truth, so let’s get the official question documented here:
How was the concept of substantial equivalence created, and can we trust it for GMO safety approvals?
We’ll be using the tag Substantial Equivalence or #SubstantialEquivalence, so you can use that at anytime to follow this sequence online at The Walk a Mile Project.
Back next week with one more entry in our GMO QUESTIONS blog, and then we’ll be working on all three of these investigations in tandem. And remember, if you have any questions for us and would like to make your own guest appearance on the GMO Truth Podcast, just click on the little widget on the right side of this page that says:
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