As we have reported, one of the more notable anti-genetically improved foods (GIFs) activist groups is none other than Vladimir Putin’s despotic Russian regime. Somewhere between annexing the Crimea and flipping off the international community, Putin and his cronies have found time to push for the banning of GIFs.
In April, one of Putin’s minions cited independent scientists’ “findings” that GIFs cause a variety of maladies as justification for a national ban. (Russia’s State Duma – legislature – continues to consider a total ban on GIFs.) Putin’s opposition puts him in some illustrious company: former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad are among the other strange bedfellows who fight perfectly safe GIFs.
Now Putin is back. Last week, his lawmakers petitioned the United Nations to create an international agency that would strictly control GIFs globally. Maybe fellow anti-GIF group Greenpeace will send the Russian government some celebratory “organic” borscht to celebrate this development.
His lawmakers want this body to make its top priority the scrutinization of how consuming GIFs negatively affect human health. But if Putin’s global scrutineers claim to find anything, they will have the credibility of anti-vaccination zealots. Scientific consensus – led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Medical Assocation, World Health Organization, 25 years of research, and more than 500 independent research groups – is clear: GIFs are safe. To say or imply otherwise makes activists as credible as the Flat Earth Society. The Economist pithily summed this up in a recent graphic: In 2013, 3.1 million people worldwide died of malnutrition; zero died from GIFs.
And while campaigning against GIFs may not get the publicity of Putin’s other awful exploits, many experts – including Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore – say that such opposition to GIFs results in the deaths of millions of people in developing countries because it disincentivizes corporations from developing new GIF crops, preventing the technology from making its way to the malnourished masses. Nonetheless, anti-GIF advocates are undeterred that Putin has hitched his wagon to their cause.