“In the fictional world of James Bond, the criminal group SPECTRE made a big business out of misusing technology to disrupt commerce, make money, and turn nations against one another,” Gregory Conko, director of food safety policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writes in The Washington Times. “In the real world of agriculture and food, mischievous groups can misuse a technology called ELISA to wreak similar havoc — halting commerce, closing ports and stirring up international disputes that often pit country against country.



“ELISA (which stands for enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay) is a diagnostic test that can detect very low levels of certain proteins in very large batches of food or commodity grains. Environmental extremist groups like it because ELISA can detect biotech material in conventional grain shipments. Greenpeace and others have made big business out of testing boatloads of grain headed for European ports…



“Achieving zero presence in grain is virtually impossible given the millions of tons grown in the U.S. every year (2 billion bushels of corn alone). It’s easy to see how small bits of biotech grain can occasionally get mixed with conventional… It’s also important to note, however, that none of this ‘adventitious’ mixing, as it’s called, poses any risk to human health or the environment…The current lack of an adventitious presence standard is only advantageous to groups who are more opposed to global commerce than they are concerned about the environment. They like zero tolerance, because they can exploit it in their efforts to destroy a safe and beneficial technology… Biotechnology offers many economic and environmental benefits. It should not be sidetracked because of meaningless detections.”