When used to describe food-crop production, the terms "biotechnology-derived," "genetically modified," and "genetically engineered" increasingly have become controversial and often divisive labels. In response to public concern about the use of biotechnology in crop production and the resultant safety of the food supply, effect on the environment, and potential for further industrialization of agriculture at the expense of biodiversity, The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) today is releasing a commentary, Crop Biotechnology and the Future of Food: A Scientific

According to Task Force Chair Dr. Bruce Chassy, Professor of Food Microbiology, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, "Over the last decade, 8.5 million farmers have grown transgenic varieties of crops on more than 1 billion acres of farmland in 17 countries.

More than 7 million of these farmers are small-holders in developing countries. The crops have been consumed by humans and animals in most countries, so a prodigious amount of data and observation is available on which to judge their safety and usefulness." And, adds CAST Executive Vice President Dr. John M. Bonner, "This commentary weighs hypothetical hazards voiced by activist critics against available scientific evidence and experience with transgenic crops."

The full text of this Commentary (QTA 2005-2) may be accessed without charge on the CAST website at www.cast-science.org along with many of CAST's other scientific publications.

CAST is an international consortium of 37 scientific and professional societies. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

Source: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology