It’s easy to sound like a broken record when it comes to genetically improved food crops. More and more thinking people are starting to realize that biotech blackballing is based on fear, not science.
The latest research clearly indicates that farmers who grow genetically enhanced varieties tend to make more money and use less chemical pesticide in the process. Recent science shows that biotech crops can actually help the environment by preserving precious topsoil.
A recent issue of the journal Nature Genetics includes a study, issued by the University of Toronto, concluding that biotech foods “could save millions and millions of lives” in the Third World. And in the International Herald Tribune, the executive director of the UN World Food Program recently wrote that “all scientific risk assessments thus far show that the biotech foods now on the market are every bit as safe to eat as their conventional counterparts.” He adds that “the European Union recently cited 81 separate studies that support this view.”
So why is Europe still resisting this reliable, revolutionary technology? Why are countless poor sub-Saharan Africans dying of hunger, when a plentiful supply of modern food has been offered freely by Western nations? Why is the government of Zambia, for instance, refusing to let perfectly good food aid into the country, preferring instead to see millions starve? Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, “direct action” vigilantes, and even the “natural” food industry, all deserve some portion of the blame.
Hooded vandals are still ravaging the British countryside, pulling out environmentally incorrect plants by the roots. Five of them were jailed and fined last week, but they defiantly vowed to commit additional crimes.
Greenpeace Canada and INFACT (of Nestle boycott fame) are sounding alarms because the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws is supposedly selling “contaminated” baby food. Contaminated with what, you ask? Genetically improved ingredients. In response, the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph (Ontario) fired off a press release chastising Greenpeace for foisting its “erroneous” agenda on the public.
A French organic farmer interviewed in today’s Chicago Tribune made it clear just why the “natural” and “organic” food industry loves this kind of scare-mongering. “If there was a TV program the night before about mad cow or genetically modified organisms,” he said, “there would be new customers” the next day.
Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the Green Revolution, sums it up nicely by urging policymakers to support new technologies and “stand up to the anti-science crowd.” He also notes that the “international donor community” has abandoned sound science because they are “afraid of antagonizing powerful environmentalist lobbying groups.”