THE BLOG
07/29/2013 10:50 am ET | Updated Sep 28, 2013

Monsanto Wants Your Questions: Go Ask!

So do Syngenta, DuPont, and Dow Chemical. Those companies, along with a couple others in the biotech industry, have decided that they've been bad at communicating, and have created a web site, GMOanswers.com, to try to improve. They're soliciting questions about any GMO-related topic, and Cathleen Enright, executive director of the Council for Biotechnology Information, has promised to answer pretty much anything. (The site just went up, so there aren't any answers yet.)

Presumably, assertions of GMO safety by the GMO industry will be met with even more skepticism than assertions elsewhere. But the Council for Biotechnology Information is promising transparency, and assures us that answers will come from, "scientists, members of academia, farmers and other independent experts who have volunteered their time and effort to improve communication on the subject of biotechnology."

I think it's worth it to give them a try, but I don't want to hear a re-hash of the standard industry line on these issues. Been there, read that. So I posted a question on a topic I've been wondering about for a long time, and which doesn't readily lend itself to spin: "One of the reasons for skepticism of GMO safety is that any negative results from safety trials can simply go unpublished. To what extent has that happened, and will you support full disclosure of all results?"

I want to know. Do you want to know? If so, go to the site and vote to have that question answered. Or post your own question. Or vote for another question. But if biotech wants to have a candid, open conversation, I think we should give them the chance to do it. If it's neither candid nor open, we'll know soon enough.