As the issue of genetically modified food continues to work its way into the public consciousness, more and more local groups are hosting debates on the subject.
The foods, which were foisted upon the American public with little or no choice and continue to remain unlabeled, have drawn the ire of activists across the country, yet executives from Monsanto and other genetically modified seed and chemical companies continue to spend tens of millions of dollars to prevent labeling while insisting they are safe.
That was the case that one top Monsanto executive, its public affairs director Trent Clark, tried to make in a recent debate against Idaho mother Jennifer Easley, who also volunteers as the president of the GMO Free Idaho group.
Clark squared off with in a nearly hour-long debate, but one line in particular had the audience strongly questioning Clark to say the least.
Volunteer Mother Squares Off Against Monsanto Exec.
The debate touched on several different important topics and controversies surrounding GMOs, with both Easley and Clark presenting their cases at the public non-partisan forum in Boise, Idaho.
Clark tried his best to instill confidence in the crowd on behalf of the GMO food industry.
“When I say genetic modification is better (than traditional plant breeding), what I am saying is, we know more about what we’re doing,” he said. “That’s the major difference.”
He went on to say that wild carrots are nothing like the carrots we buy today, once again conflating traditional plant breeding with lab-created, gene-spliced GMOs in a possible effort to confuse the audience (similar to what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said recently).
He also noted that the United Nations has said there is a major problem with a lack of available calories to the children of the world and strongly implied that giving up on GMOs would deliver a major blow to their prospects for the future (while completely neglecting a recent UN report that said small-scale organic farming is the best way to “feed the world,” of course).
Speaking second, Easley took issue with many of Clark’s assertions, noting that a recent USDA report showed a staggering amount of food is wasted in the United States, and that poverty and distribution are the main problems leading to hunger, not production.
She also spoke about the Reagan administration’s original, faulty assertions that GMOs are safe which continues to shape the government’s policy today despite a lack of testing (for further reading on why no consensus has been reached on GMO safety check out this article from GMO Free USA here).
Clark’s Biggest Head-Scratcher
Perhaps the most interesting part of the debate happened at the 37-minute mark, during which he actually claimed that “genetic modification is natural,” which Easley quickly refuted.
You can hear the exchange at the 37 minute mark, and the entire debate, by clicking on the picture below (from the Facebook page GMO Free USA)