The food police are at it again

A recent report from the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the U.S. claims that genetically modified crops are not living up to their promises. However, the report is rife with anti-biotech bias, say Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution and Gregory Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The CSPI, which opposes the production of genetically modified, or agbiotech, foods, claims in their analysis that the biotech industry is stagnant and lacks innovation.

However, the report ignores the realities:

  • In at least 18 countries, including the United States and Canada, farmers are using gene-spliced crops which produce higher yields, require fewer chemicals and reduce soil erosion.

  • Last year, more than 200 million acres of gene-spliced crops were cultivated worldwide.

  • About 80 percent of grocery store foods now contain gene-spliced ingredients, mainly soy and maize by-products.

  • Americans have consumed over 1 trillion servings of gene-spliced foods, with no reported adverse health effects.

    Furthermore, since 70 percent of the world's fresh water is used for agriculture, new agbiotech crops can reduce the use of irrigation in areas where water is scarce, producing higher yields during drought conditions.

    The only thing that hinders the innovation of the biotech industry is burdensome regulation that would increase the cost of research and development, says Miller. Indeed, the CSPI's biotech spokesman, Gregory Jaffe, assisted in drafting a bill proposed by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) which would establish excessive regulations for agbiotech foods.

    Source: Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, Misnamed Activists are Thorns in Rose of Agiotech Foods, Investor's Business Daily, March 4, 2005; Agricultural Biotechnology Withering on the Vine, Says CSPI, Centre for Science in the Public Interest, February 2, 2005.

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    For more on Biotechnology and Food:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 15 March 2005
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