Robert Fraley, a top researcher at crop-seed maker Monsanto, is often referred to as “the father of agricultural biotechnology.”
Fraley says he’s convinced opponents of GMOs represent a small percentage of consumers.
“Those are extreme voices,” Fraley says. “As I travel and talk to audiences, the vast majority of people are in the middle.”
Fraley estimates 70 to 80% of Americans believe genetically modified foods are safe.
The latest issue of National Geographic features a cover story about the role of genetics in food production.
Dennis Dimick, executive environment editor at the magazine, says biotechnology is critical to solving the problem of feeding nine-billion people — the world’s estimated population by 2050.
Dimick says, “In a world where we need to improve productivity, things like drought, salt, and heat tolerant crops are so important and should be allowed to happen, even if they do involve the use of genetic engineering.”
In November, voters in Oregon and Colorado will decide if manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers should be required to label foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering.
In recent years, similar measures in California and in Washington state were narrowly rejected after millions of dollars were spent by Monsanto and other labeling opponents to defeat the campaigns.