This month Scientific Americanlights a fire under the limitations Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta place on research on their genetically engineered seeds.
Scientific American is not objecting to GM crops per se. What it is objecting to is the stifling of scientific inquiry and research by these GMO crop producers.
The three companies essentially make it impossible for anyone to test their crops for anything other than what they allow to be tested. Want to test one seed against another - not allowed. Want to test what conditions a seed does best in, not allowed.
Insane you say? Welcome to the Bizzaro world of GM crops.
In a nutshell the issue is quite simple.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers.
To purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them.
So to buy seed you have to sign an agreement that limits what you can do with the seed. If you want to do research that has not been approved by the maker, screw you.
As the article notes this is equivalent to car companies not allowing independent testing of their cars! or comparative testing of any kind. Good bye Consumer Reports.
This kind of practice is also like not allowing independent testing of drugs or medicines (whether it be for effectiveness or comparative results against similar medicines).
For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.
Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering.
So...and this is BIG. not only do the companies prohibit any research that they do not approve of, they also filter "approved" testing to ensure only positive results get published.
Gee...I wonder why we don't see any negative GM studies?
This is patently ridiculous. It is time for the EPA to "force" GM seed producers to allow independent testing. If they have the right to sell a product, consumers must have the right to see INDEPENDENT testing results of that product. No ifs ands or buts.