It’s not surprising that science deniers like the anti-genetically improved foods (GIF), or GMO, movement can hold some ridiculous views. We’ve been trawling the bowels of the internet for the crazier ramblings of the activists, so put on your tinfoil hats and come for a dive with us.
Our first stop is Hawaii, where despite the best efforts of some policymakers to sift through the science and come to informed judgments, activists are advancing island-by-island bans on GIF cultivation. (This is important because Hawaii’s climate makes it one of the optimal places to test-grow GIFs.) One letter writer to West Hawaii Today likes those bans, but in arguing for them he expresses some “interesting” theories:
[GIF manufacturers] had themselves installed into high positions in the federal government, akin to appointing Count Dracula oversight of a national blood bank, making legislation a snap to approve. […] These corporations are also among the prime movers of the TPP/TPIP, a global corporate fascist (corporate fascist is a redundancy) takeover, whose laws would trump national sovereignty, so any progress in banning or even labeling their products would be lost, among other things.
Um, what? Far from a fever-swamp “corporate fascist takeover,” GIFs are a potential boon to food security, nutrition, and local economies—something Hawaiians should know, since GIF papayas that resist Ringspot virus infection saved the papaya-growing industry in that state.
And GIFs that provide Vitamin A to populations that suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency—a potentially fatal condition that kills 250,000 per year—are being developed by nonprofit consortiums. But the tinfoil hat brigade are onto this too: Improving foods to save lives is racist or something. So says the “Center for Research on Globalization”:
Perhaps the most racists, disgusting public relations stunt yet to sell genetically modified poison to the masses and monopolize the world’s food supply. […] From “Golden Rice” to “Super Bananas,” this GMO gruel represents the very worst of a long history of inhuman, racist imperialism. It is essentially corporate-financiers handing out “Super Bananas for Brown People.”
O-kay. It’s an undeniable fact that Vitamin A deficiency kills tens of thousands—just ask the World Health Organization. But when presented with a safe—scientific consensus holds that GIFs are just as safe as other foods—option to ease this silent crisis, activists like the “Center for Research on Globalization” and Greenpeace reject them. And despite their professed concern, they potentially condemn tens of thousands of people to death.