Loc: Waterloo, NY
August 28th, 2014
Is Cornell the Go-To University for Industry Science?
By Tim Schwab
Cornell University announced last week that it is embarking on a multi-million dollar campaign to “depolarize the charged debate” around GMOs. Can you guess who’s behind this effort? The biotech industry and its supporters.
...corporations routinely engage neutral-appearing scientists and impartial-sounding front groups to help advance their political and economic agendas.
Cornell is no stranger to this science-for-sale approach. Earlier this year, Cornell economist William Lesser took money from a biotech front group to produce a questionable analysis showing that GMO labeling will be very costly for consumers. While he noted that the study reflected his personal opinions, not those of Cornell, GMO supporters began publicizing the findings of “the Cornell study” in their campaign to defeat state-labeling initiatives around the country. Independent studies, meanwhile, show that GMO labeling will not increase costs significantly—and perhaps not at all.
... Rather than trying to promote a civil, honest, impartial dialogue about GMOs—as you would expect from a university like Cornell—the school has chosen to partner with some of the biotechnology industry’s most prominent supporters and defenders.
At a time when the United States is clearly ready for a frank conversation about GMOs, evident in the state-level labeling ballot initiatives underway across the country, it is unfortunate that our most prominent philanthropists and universities would partner with industry to distort the public discourse.