August 15, 2012
David A. Fischhoff, Monsanto Company
The first generation of agricultural biotechnology crop products resulted in the successful development of new systems for insect and weed control that replaced or reduced alternative pest management methods with higher risk profiles. Significant scientific efforts were undertaken globally to assess whether the use of transgenic technology presented new benefits and/or risks to food, feed and environmental safety in the crops and in food and feed products compared to conventional counterparts. Scientific
data has continued to demonstrate that biotechnology offers substantial benefits to the environment, consumers and farmers using these new tools to control pests compared to traditional methods. However, opponents of this science platform continue to challenge its safety generating doubt while its supporters use science as the proof of its safety. Communicating the results of science-based risk and benefit assessments is a continuing challenge for agricultural biotechnology. Lessons learned and new insights into improving communications will be shared.