Science over Scaremongering on Improved Crops

Syringe CornThe Los Angeles Times’ editorial board yesterday penned an opinion piece in support of genetically improved foods (GIFs) and against mandatory food labeling demanded by activists. We’re pleased to see the Times affirm the pro-science position it took during the debate over California’s woefully misguided Proposition 37 ballot measure and echo what we’ve been saying about GIFs for years.

The Times notes, “The scientific evidence on genetically engineered food, which has been around for two decades, indicates that it is as safe for human consumption as any other food.” The editors event went so far as to declare, “A California bill that would require the labeling of bioengineered food…caters to a scare campaign that is not based on solid evidence.” It’s so sensible, we could have written it.

As the Times editors note, “Reviews by the American Medical Assn., the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and the National Academy of Sciences have all concluded that genetically engineered food appears to be as safe as any other.” To us, that—combined with other scientific bodies that back GIFs—sounds like an overwhelming scientific consensus. Unfortunately, groups like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Environmental Working Group choose to hypocritically cherry-pick consensuses that back their preconceived green radical agendas and reject GIFs.

That rejection comes with significant costs. GIFs help farmers to grow more food on the same amount of land, meaning they can feed more people. Scientists are developing ways for farmers to grow food where it’s previously been impossible, thanks to innovations such as “scuba rice” which can grow in flooded paddies. Other GIF innovations, most notably the Vitamin A-packed “golden rice,” offer the opportunity to save lives through improved nutrition.

As the debate over the safety and benefits of GMOs becomes more prominent in media, we hope that a greater number of papers will follow the Times’ lead and come out in support of this technology.

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