The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture has created communication resources to help those researching, developing and using the technology support an informed dialogue on gene editing in food and agriculture.
“Gene editing has the potential to deliver significant benefits and solve challenges in society and food production,” said Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), which facilitates the Coalition. “We know consumers have questions and they deserve answers. The resources provide guidance on conveying the science in a meaningful way to support a better informed public discussion about the technology.”
Created by CFI in 2016, the Coalition is a partnership of diverse stakeholders, including academia, plant and animal genetic companies, agriculture and food system stakeholders, and public interest groups who share a vision of global acceptance and support for the responsible use of gene editing technology in agriculture and food.
Available is a guide to engagement based on communication research findings and CFI’s trust model. It also includes links to additional communication resources.
To develop the guide, the Coalition collaborated with universities, associations and others who have conducted research on consumer understanding and attitudes about gene editing. Common threads from this research, along with previous learnings about biotechnology acceptance, are the foundation of the material.
CFI will also provide engagement support for those wishing to more effectively engage with the public in a discussion about gene editing in food production.
“Traditionally the assumption has been that if the science is sound and there is appropriate regulatory oversight, there will be social acceptance of innovation,” said Arnot. “But we know from experience and research that is not the way it works in today’s environment. What consumers want to know is that food producers care about the same things they do, like producing safe, affordable, nutritious food in a way that protects and sustains our environment.”