The misrepresentation of genetically engineered foods

Mon, Sep 24, 2018

Richmond, B.C. - For more than 20 years Steven Druker has worked to uncover the truth about genetically engineered foods. On October 1, the author and public interest attorney will give a public talk at Kwantlen Polytechnic University about what he calls the chronic misrepresentation of facts in the world of bioethics, specifically claims by companies and government agencies that genetically engineered foods were safe.


“Many of the claims by the products’ proponents were clearly dubious, I felt the need to develop an accurate picture. And because the fog of misinformation had become so thick, arduous investigation was required to pierce it and discern the facts,” says Druker.


In 1996, while researching genetically engineered foods, Druker founded the Alliance for Bio-Integrity. As its executive director, he initiated a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that forced it to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods, which revealed it had covered up its own scientists’ warnings about the risk of genetically engineered foods. Health Canada wasn’t much better than the FDA, he adds.


The event is hosted by KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, which is dedicated to advancing the ecological, economic and social integrity of our food systems.


“To this end, an informed, knowledgeable citizenry is essential,” says Kent Mullinix, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. “The introduction and use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture and food has from the start been highly contentious from ecological, ethical, social, and agriculture business perspectives.”


In 2015, Druker published a book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Foods Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government and Systematically Deceived the Public, about the lawsuit, the history of genetically engineered foods and much more. Last year, he was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize for outstanding achievement on behalf of the environment.


He says he is still actively researching genetically engineered foods, especially new techniques like gene-editing.


“As has been the case with the earlier forms of genetic engineering, the claims about these techniques are exaggerated, and they’re being portrayed as more precise and less risky than they actually are,” says Druker.


Druker will present his talk at KPU Richmond in the Melville Centre for Dialogue from 7 to 9 p.m. Visit the event web page for more information and to register.