ISBR2019 summary by Justin Cremer from Alliance for Science

Addressing biosafety research’s ‘communication problem

Tarragona, Spain is both a strange and fitting location to gather nearly 300 biotech researchers, regulators, NGOs and farmers from around the world.

Strange in the sense that attendees of the 15th International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR) symposium met in the shadows of 1st century Roman ruins built at a time when the sophistication and sheer scale of modern agriculture would have been utterly unthinkable. And yet fitting, given Spain’s status as the only country in the EU growing GE crops on a significant scale.

Since 1998, Spanish farmers have cultivated over 1.2 million cumulative hectares of maize genetically engineered to resist the destructive corn borer. This accounts for around 90 percent of all Bt maize grown in the European Union, making Spain both an exception on the continent and the envy of many European farmers whose national laws do not give them the same freedom of choice.

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