Chris Barbey and Alejandra Abril Guevara, doctoral students in plant molecular and cellular biology, will head to Washington, DC, with UF/IFAS horticultural sciences Professor Kevin Folta to answer questions from the U.S. House Science Committee at a hearing scheduled for June 25.
Folta said there is no set agenda for the discussions, but he expects the researchers to field many questions relating to the GMO regulatory processes, food labeling, and product safety. “It is great that this committee is consulting with scientists that understand the evidence, and hopefully evidence will help them devise new policy,” Folta said.
Barbey hopes to provide clarification about some of the prevalent myths. “The safety of GMOs has been established and confirmed again and again. However, there is still substantial distance between the scientific facts and public perception,” he said.
Barbey said they are visiting to discuss the scientific strengths and limitations of the technologies and suggest new thinking, given the safety track record of GMOs.
“This is about discussing the science-based strengths and limitations of this technology,” Folta said. “I’m grateful that our students will have a chance to present the current state of the science.”