GMO Safety Defined as "Nutritional Equivalence"

As far as I can tell, the definitions of safety used by the scientific community are not the same as those used by the general public. The average person tends to be more interested in drug-style testing which actually  demonstrates safe and effective products. Similar to what we expect for water safety or cars with crash testing. Most people seem to believe water, drugs, and cars have to be positively tested for their impacts, especially unintended ones.


Less educated people tend not to be interested in, and to the degree they're aware of it at all: perhaps even suspicious of "nutritional equivalence" as a definition of safety. On this, they seem to have a point in that the criteria seems too loose, and allow things we would want to keep out. A grain of sand and a grain of plutonium may both have no nutritional value, but one is about as innocuous as it can be, the other maximally toxic. Healthy water may be equivalent in ph and hydration to that with lead contaminated water, but whatever the product, it is generally regarded that people's well-being should be the primary consideration.

Had the car industry been able to have safety defined as "constructional equivalence", it is possible there might have been similar disagreement on a consensus for auto safety. This is a difference of definition in "safety", and the everyday definition has been altered for business reasons, by lawyers seeking commercial advantage. By this standard, any GMO is "not known to produce harm". In contrast, the public expectation that "safety" is a positive claim that evidence of harm was competently sought under all possible conditions under which it might occur, and either none were found, or the harm was so rare, and the humanitarian benefit so much greater, that reasonable objection could not be sustained.

Consider also the huge investment GM companies make to avoid drug style testing. If these products really are completely safe, gold standard testing would seem like exactly the kind of proof one would want. With many billions of dollars to be made, the best possible scientific backing, and huge PR win such tests would deliver, both the investment and the lack of a rational justification for it constitute substantial evidence of a problem in the eyes of many.

Another concern is that GM proponents tend to criticize weak and irrational objections to GE tech and GMOs. Certainly, not much GM work nor criticism reaches the highest quality, but when we don't address critics' strongest objection, most will tend to judge our advocacy for any position as less solid and reliable. This also seems proper to many.

I consider it a virtue when we to try to find the strongest opposing arguments against our own controversial positions. I look forward to the day when I can fully endorse GE tech and marketed GMOs as safe and effective!


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