Monday, December 01, 2014

How transparent is the GMO regulatory approval process?

I posted this to Facebook today, but wanted to post it here as well. 

A student of a friend of mine recently asked me about the regulatory process around GMO's. She wanted to write about how the process should be more transparent. As part of my response I was excited to find that all of the regulatory documents and decisions have been compiled in a searchable database:
If you are interested in reading thousands of pages of regulatory approvals and environmental impact statements, they are actually available.
Too often this kind of thing feels like something from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This is from his exchange with demolition crew boss come to demolish his house to make way for a bypass.
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
GM Approval Database (GMO Database): ISAAA presents an easy to use database of Biotech/GM crop...

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