An Honest Man against Hawaiian Hypocrites

greenAmerica_chalkboardThe New York Times, which serves as a frequent mouthpiece for organic food shill Michael Pollan and has anti-biotechnology activist Mark Bittman on its payroll, recently published an enlightening front-page article on the struggle one Hawaii public official had in getting a straight answer on the safety and environmental sustainability of genetically improved crops. Hawaii (the Big Island) County Councilor Greggor Ilagan responded to a debate over a bill that would ban the growing of new genetically improved crops on the island by taking the novel step of actually trying to weed through the facts.

Through his investigations, Mr. Ilagan found that genetically improved crops had many benefits, especially in Hawaii, where an improved papaya that resists the Ringspot virus had contributed significantly to saving the crop. And on food safety, the evidence was clear:

Asked about the danger of moving genes among species where they had not originated, Dr. Suzuki explained that for millennia, humans had bred crops of the same species to produce desired traits. But with the advent of genetic engineering, it became possible to borrow a feature from elsewhere on the tree of life. An example Mr. Ilagan later learned about was the rice being tested in the Philippines. Modified with genes from bacteria and corn, it can provide Vitamin A, the deficiency of which is a scourge of the world’s poor.

That did not mean genetically engineered food could never cause harm. But the risks of such crops could be reliably tested, and they had so far proved safe. “With scientists, we never say anything is 100 percent certain one way or another,” Dr. Suzuki said. “We weigh conclusions on accumulated knowledge or evidence — but often this is not satisfactory for some.”

Among those groups claiming that a scientific consensus is “not satisfactory” are the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch, the Sierra Club, and Green America (operators of the “GMO Inside” campaign). All these groups are environmentalist hypocrites: They endorse the scientific consensuses on human-caused climate change that suit their agendas and reject the equally strong scientific consensus on biotechnology in food production that doesn’t.

To help honest investigators of the science on genetically improved crops like Councilor Illagan, CCF today publishes a research brief on the hypocrisy of anti-genetic improvement groups and detailing the scientific bodies that consistently endorse the consensuses. As we note in conclusion:

It is a clear hypocrisy for these activist groups to embrace consensus on climate change and to choose to deny consensus on GMO safety, especially when the same scientific organizations support the consensus on both issues. It takes significant effort for the scientific community to reach consensus but little effort for activists to cherry pick as they please. 

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