Filed Under: Uncategorized

Progress vs. Propaganda

Genetically improved foods are “even safer than conventional plants and foods,” the European Union has officially declared. Biotech products can save lives in developing nations, according to the director of the World Health Organization. And now, top producers are lending a hand.

“The world’s largest agricultural biotechnology companies are setting up charitable foundations, backing aid for subsistence farmers, and donating valuable data and patents,” The Washington Post reports this morning. In an effort to “improve a staple consumed by many of the world’s poor,” biotech firms are sharing data on rice technology.

Golden rice could become a major lifesaver for tens of thousands of malnourished individuals. But activists like Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety trash-talk biotech. Kimbrell has built a career around attacking food. He got his start working under neo-Luddite Jeremy Rifkin, then moved on to run campaigns against various food technologies. His recent efforts have focused on securing mandatory labels for genetically improved foods; he has said, “We are going to force them to label this food. If we have it labeled, then we can organize people not to buy it.”

Kimbrell’s group is not alone. Greenpeace and the Organic Consumers Association are also striking against genetic improvement. According to Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute, “Greenpeace and its partners in misinformation” are trying to “fan fears among the general public… It is the latest example of bio-fraud — an all-too-common tactic of radical environmental groups.”

While “bio-fraud” may help activists stay in business, it has real impact for the developing world. “From their world of plenty, they tell us what we can and cannot feed our children,” writes Kenyan plant pathologist Florence Wambugu. The protesters have fanned the flames of mistrust of genetically modified foods through a campaign of misinformation… But the real victim in this controversy is the truth.”

For more on the motives of the anti-consumer activist groups mentioned in this article, visit

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