The biotechnology industry hasn’t always done the best job of communicating the story of GMO crops.

But that should change with a new joint initiative by the agricultural and biotechnology companies that create the genetically modified seeds.

On July 29, the industry launched, a new resource committed to transparency about the use of GMOs in agriculture, research and data — all in one public place for the first time.

Research shows there is a need for this conversation: 49 percent of people surveyed either don’t know or are unsure of what a genetically modified crop is, and most have very little understanding of what GMO products are on the market today.

This lack of knowledge is a breeding ground for confusion and misconception, fueling negative perceptions and fear of the unknown.

GMO Answers is inviting the world — including GMO critics — to ask the tough questions, be skeptical, and evaluate the information on biotechnology.

As public debate grows on genetically modified foods, our goal is to make information not only easier to find, but easier to understand.

The scientists who develop biotech seeds, along with the farmers who grow them, are committed to a new standard of transparency and access, as outlined in the GMO Answers five core principles:

• Welcoming and answering questions on all GMO topics;

• Making GMO information, research and data easy to access and evaluate, and supporting independent safety testing of GM products, including allowing independent safety testing of our products by using validated science-based methods;

• Supporting farmers as they work to grow crops using precious resources more efficiently with less impact on the environment and producing safe, nutritious food and feed products;

• Respecting farmers’ rights to choose the seeds that are best for their farms, businesses and communities and providing seed choices that include making non-GM seeds based on market demands;

• Respecting people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families;

• Respecting people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families.

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“Ask tough questions. Be skeptical. Evaluate the information for yourselves and make up your own mind. We look forward to sharing answers,” Cathleen Enright, spokeswoman for GMO Answers, said in inviting the public to visit GMO Answers.

GMO Answers is funded by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta.

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