b'priority list. Up to that point, GMOs were a non-issue in the public consciousness, Boecker says.To those who were active in lobbying against GM technology, the BSE outbreak was a vehicle for sowing mistrust among the public, he says. At the same time, the two main companies offering these GM productsMonsanto and Syngentahad never had to deal with consumer concerns of this nature.They did not do a very good job in addressing the matter. As a consequence, there was also quite a bit of resistance not just among consumers but among farm-ers as well to even try these products. From this point onwards, the so-called unknown long-term health riskswhich are present with any new technologyare the primary reason most consumers give when they are asked why they have a negative impression of GMOs.Add to that the fact that most GMOs on the market have no direct observable benefit to consumers, he says, and you have a general public that is wary, or else simply apathetic, about GM technology on their dinner plate.It is evident from the research that the potential ben- Andreas Boecker, associate professor with the Department of Food, efits of GMOs are not known to the general public, andAgricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph.theres a very simple reason for thatthe first generation of GMOs do not have a tangible benefit for the con-sumer. Instead, they are beneficial primarily to farmers by making their job easier and boosting yields. Also, the companies selling these products obviously benefit from a profit perspective. That further fuels public mistrust and a feeling among many consumers that they are being fed something that at the very least is of no benefit to them, if not potentially harmful in some way.Power DynamicsFor Kavin Senapathy, the problem runs even deeper. Based in Madison, Wisc., Senapathy is a freelance jour-nalist and co-founder of SciMoms.com, a non-profitKavin Senapathy is a freelanceJenn Armen serves as vice-educational organization which aims to promote evi- journalist and co-founder ofpresident business and corporate dence-based parenting and policy. SciMoms.com. development for Okanagan She says negative consumer impressions of GM foodsSpecialty Fruits based in North are not just rooted in fear of the technology itself, butCarolina, which created the GMO business practices surrounding it and the many harmsArctic Apple.that can result from those practices.Senapathy was once a prominent voice of the pro-GMO movement. For years, she went to bat for GM tech-nology in pieces published by outlets like Forbes. She has used Golden Rice as one example of traits Rampant anti-GMO misinformation exploited thethat she once found noble and later began questioning. fear of parents, often in misogynistic ways that targetedGolden Rice is engineered to be rich in beta carotene, the women and other people assigned female at birth. Andprecursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is a leading so, as someone who cared about science and justice,cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Proponents GMOs werent only safe, but the precise transfer ofof Golden Rice argue that it could save millions of chil-desired traits seemed elegant, she says. dren whose diets consist mainly of rice, Senapathy notes.Things started to change for her in the mid-2010s,At one point, it felt natural to me to worry about chil-when she says she started paying attention to calls todren who could be helped by genetic engineering if only decolonize science and de-centre the prominent rolethe anti-GMO opposition would back down. As my think-white men play in agriculture and the lucrative industrying shifted, I started wondering about the role of colonial-that has been built around it. ism in contemporary global patterns of malnutrition. Its I started [becoming more aware of] the discoursevery complex, but research does suggest that European around the so-called benefits of GMOs, and also to powercolonization played a significant role in malnutrition that dynamics and history. continues up to today.JANUARY 2022 GERMINATION.CA 27'