I keep dreaming of a certification body that has stringent and ever-evolving standards for a sustainable agriculture that looks after the environment and humans, with a rigorous but open mind when it comes to technologies that could help us get to a more sustainable and ethical food production system.

In my opinion, GMOs are unjustifiably seen as an entirely evil thing by a big chunk of the population. I acknowledge the fact that some are associated with the use of potentially dangerous pesticides, and the fact that some companies that commercialise them demonstrate unethical practices. However, I understand that genetic engineering has the potential of helping humanity solve issues related to food security and the impact of agriculture on the environment by developing varieties that are more nutritious, grow more efficiently, require less resources, are drought resistant and defend themselves against pests.

Is there a label (i.e. a certification body) that integrates soundly developed and tested GMOs as a part of the solution?

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    The question (and first answer) demonstrate an implicit bias. "Potentially beneficial"? If look for such a certifying body, you may find one (though I suspect that right now the first answer is correct and none such exists yet). But do you want to be told GMOs are beneficial or do you want to be told the truth about GMOs? I would think the latter (at least, I find an accurate model of reality inherently desirable). So what you really want to do is find a body doing science on the effects of GMOs. And for the health effects of eating them, you're probably out of luck right now. – Jean-Paul Calderone Nov 22 '17 at 16:37
  • I am looking for a certification that would look at commercialised GMOs and consider the research associated to such variety (i.e. if there is any proof of negative environmental/health impact so far) as well as assess its potential to make agriculture more sustainable. As far as I know, you have to prove that something is dangerous, not the other way around. – stragu Nov 24 '17 at 4:16
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    I'm not sure what you're saying when you say "you have to prove that something is dangerous". Who is "you"? Why does that person "have" to do anything? – Jean-Paul Calderone Nov 26 '17 at 0:24
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    Sorry if I wasn't clear. What I meant is that I want the certification body to look at the current evidence: evidence that GMOs can help make agriculture more sustainable, and evidence that GMOs harm or are likely to harm humans. Research has the potential to prove that something is harmful; it can't prove that something can do no harm – stragu Nov 26 '17 at 23:44
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    There's an old but interesting look at GMOs from Slate. The author argues that the anti-GMO movement ignores some of the biggest problems with GMOs by focusing on human health. – LShaver Nov 1 '18 at 14:51

Given that you can't "soundly test" the long-term effects of GMOs on humans without first exposing humans to GMOs for a long time (decades, even generations) I don't see how such a label would be of any use whatsoever to inform the purchasing decisions of the first few million/billion willing volunteers unwitting victims guinea pigs.

Given that a few million/billion people might be seriously ill or dead by the time the "sound testing" for a particular GMO was completed, and the liability bill could financially ruin any corporation, I don't see why anyone would run the risk of creating or backing such a label.

Even if such "sound testing" did occur, do you seriously believe that negative results would be made public? I don't. I'd expect the shredders to be running hot whenever testing data made its way back to head office.

"Grass-fed Beef" has been around for thousands of years, and has an established track-record of safety. Monsanto's "Moo-231987422/A" has been around for a few months, and is made by perhaps the most evil company in the world — with a track record of making nasty things that do bad stuff to animals, plants, and humans. Most rational people — interested in self-preservation — will opt for Grass-fed Beef on their plate.

Profit-driven corporations are immoral or, at the very least, amoral. Time and time again they have shown this to be true. The public don't trust them because they have a track record of deception, lies, and generally not caring about their customers. If the public can't trust the companies, they can't trust the products they make, either. The 99% of corporations that are untrustworthy have ruined it for the 1% of corporations that are actually trying to do the right thing. It's not the consumer's fault — it's corporate culture driven by greed that's at fault; it's capitalism.

If any certification body ever comes into existence to perform the function you desire then I think you'll find it is funded by the very corporations that would profit from its labelling. A mere puppet that can falsely promote customer confidence and be quickly liquidated when the class action lawsuits come rolling in.

At the very heart of the problem, though, is the fact that you can't label a GMO as 'safe' without exposing people (and their unborn children) to unknown levels of harm first. It's a Catch-22. You need willing tests subjects to verify that something is safe, but those test subjects want to know that it is safe before they're willing to eat it.

I don't know if it's even possible to solve that problem.

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    @Jean-PaulCalderone I don't see consumers as being particularly willing to buy GMOs. I them as being manipulated into doing so by misinformation and lax labelling laws. – Highly Irregular Nov 22 '17 at 18:16
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    Sorry, down-voting as bitter screed. There's some truth and insight here that's obscured by the tone, and as such doesn't really address the question. – LShaver Nov 22 '17 at 20:38
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    Wasn't it the US federal government that enacted a law (a couple of years ago) which prevented states from requiring GMOs to be labelled as such? Thus making it impossible for citizens to make informed choices about what they were eating and turning the entire population of the whole country into unwilling GMO test subjects? – Tim Nov 23 '17 at 10:20
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    The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1599) passed the House of Representatives on July 23, 2015.[1] The Act is called by some GMO labeling advocates "The DARK Act" for "Denying Americans the Right to Know"Wikipedia. As is a feature of a lot of US legislation, the name given to acts is completely opposite to the intent and effect of those acts. – Tim Nov 23 '17 at 10:26
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    @Tim, you say that such a certification can't exist based on your belief that there will never be a way to achieve an acceptable level of confidence in a GMO's innocuity. Your answer contains no reference whatsoever; you make sweeping statements about millions dying, the public not trusting corporations at all, 99% of corporations being untrustworthy; and you make a GMO name up to illustrate your point. Are you also against most pharmaceutics and technologies because of the same belief that something needs to be tested over several generations to be deemed safe enough to be used by humans? – stragu Nov 24 '17 at 11:01

I don't think there is. Most organic labels even prohibit the use of GMO's.

(Are there "sustainable" labels, that do not require the "organic" part?)

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