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Genetically Improved Foods Save Money And The Environment

Despite a steady supply of farcical protests, attendees of this week’s San Diego biotech conference heard good news about the benefits of food technology. Tuesday saw the release of preliminary findings from the very first comprehensive study on the impact of biotech on the food supply. Early results show “billions of dollars worth of additional production and savings” because of biotech advances. Farmers planting Roundup-resistant soybeans, for instance, use 75% less pesticide, saving $15 per acre. Also, the environmental impact of biotech has been a positive one. The Christian Science Monitor notes that “it’s saving energy in factories, reducing pesticide use in some crops, and replacing petroleum-based products, such as polyester, with renewable ones, like so-called ‘green plastics.'”

Anti-technology zealots, though, persist in their knowledge-deprived arguments. Michael Rodemeyer, director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, told the Boston Herald that consumers have good reason to mistrust biotech’s resounding Federal approval, “[g]iven the U.S. experience with Starlink product recalls.” Perhaps Rodemeyer hasn’t heard that StarLink was recently cleared of suspicion by the FDA. Blood tests have now debunked the theory that StarLink caused a single allergic reaction, but these activists won’t let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a scare campaign. In the current issue of New Scientist, Rebecca Goldburg (of Environmental Defense) insists: “There’s no way a credible scientist could rule [it] out.” Friends of the Earth’s scaremonger-in-chief Bill Freese suggests in a letter to the Los Angeles Times (with no supporting evidence) that the FDA’s investigation was not “thorough” and its blood-antibody test is not “reliable.”

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