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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

The GMO Attack

Aug 29, 2013

Perhaps, just perhaps, scientists, world leaders, and the ag community are ready to stand up to the outrageous, unjustified attacks on GM crops.

Prime Minister Cameron of the UK said it’s time to acknowledge the value of genetically engineered crops. Thousands of scientists from all over the world signed a petition to counter the GM critics. Nina Fedoroff, University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia said, "It’s long past time for scientists to stand up and shout. ‘No more lies – no more fear mongering.’ We’re talking about saving millions of lives." Finally, I think the ag community is beginning to realize that it’s time to fight back.

Even today, there are many countries that ban the cultivation of all genetically modified crops. They are not totally banned in Europe but they just as well could be.

On the positive side, I should report that the acceptance of GM crops is expanding. Biotech acreage in the U.S. continues to grow 93% of soy acres, 90% of corn, and 90% of cotton. We are exporting 40 billion dollars worth of GM production. Brazil is emerging as a biotech leader. In 2012, developing countries accounted for 52% of global biotech crop production.

Think about how much GMO food is being consumed now, with no bad effects. The critics of GMOs don’t have anything negative to point to. They can’t make their case. They just want to scare people.
My commentary today on GMOs was inspired by a front-page article in the New York Times. I am more inclined to expect the New York Times to publish some left-leaning review of the GM issue. But no. They are right on target.

The event that triggered their article was an attack on GM rice plants in the Philippines by a mob of protesters. The rice they pulled up by the roots is referred to as "Golden Rice." The rice is endowed with a gene from corn. With that gene added, the rice provides a source of vitamin A. The lack of that vital vitamin causes blindness in a quarter million children each year. You would think organizations like Green Peace would care about the children.

Anyway, I am hopeful that we have heard enough of the ignorant critics. We have science on our side. We care about people.


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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

Cactus - Chandler, AZ
Not so fast. The longest tests that are routinely conducted on GM foods for regulatory assessments are 90-day rodent feeding trials, and even these are not compulsory. In view of safety breeches that are triggered by borderline fraud and corruption in this biotech/GMO industry, perhaps the biggest issue is mistrust. Do yourself a favor and do some deep digging into the issue and I guarantee you that not only will you find substantiated health risks but you will also find a track record of fraud and corruption in this industry. Perhaps the biggest issue now is mistrust. Further, when you look at the astronomical financial expenditures by the biotech companies to convince/force other counties to accept GMOs, when they are admittedly saying they do not want the stuff, something is suspect. As one person put it, for the past 20 years, major biotech companies have used their political and financial power to foist a deeply flawed technology on America's farmers, consistently underestimating the real risks of genetic engineering while putting America's farmers, the environment and the public in harm's way simply in the name of profit. This also applies to foreign countries.
7:42 PM Sep 30th

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