You can be sure there are no chemicals in OUR food!
VT’s law requiring “genetically modified” foods to be labelled takes effect today.
Related story: 100 Nobel Prize winners in medicine accuse Greenpeace of killing children
More than 100 Nobel laureates have come together to sign a letter accusing Greenpeace of “crimes against humanity” for the environmental group’s anti-scientific stand against genetically modified organisms, in particular the group’s effort to stop the use of a kind of rice aimed at eradicating vitamin A deficiency, a scourge that has killed millions in the last decade and blinded tens of millions more. The victims, according to the World Health Organization, are mostly children and pregnant mothers.
While dozens of the 107 Nobel Prize-winning signers are in fields such as physics and economics with little specific relevance to the safety of GMO foods or efforts to fight deadly global health threats, 41 of the Nobel laureates hold the distinction for their work in medicine. They represent Nobel winners from virtually every year from 1989 to 2014.
In the past, Greenpeace has blithely ignored the views of scientists, such as those convened by the National Academy of Sciences, who have repeatedly found genetically-modified food perfectly safe for humans and the environment.
Here’s the letter:
To the Leaders of Greenpeace, the United Nations and Governments around the world
The United Nations Food & Agriculture Program has noted that global production of food, feed and fiber will need approximately to double by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing global population. Organizations opposed to modern plant breeding, with Greenpeace at their lead, have repeatedly denied these facts and opposed biotechnological innovations in agriculture. They have misrepresented their risks, benefits, and impacts, and supported the criminal destruction of approved field trials and research projects.
We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against “GMOs” in general and Golden Rice in particular.
Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.
Greenpeace has spearheaded opposition to Golden Rice, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 – 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.
WE CALL UPON GREENPEACE to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general;
WE CALL UPON GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD to reject Greenpeace’s campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general; and to do everything in their power to oppose Greenpeace’s actions and accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of modern biology, especially seeds improved through biotechnology. Opposition based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped.
And it’s not just Vitamin A, naturally. Across the third world, rising sea levels and soil depletion are both causing widespread starvation: salt-tolerant crops could spare those people, but the anti-GM crowd is having none of it:
GM salt tolerant crops, if they existed, would be a band-aid solution to a problem that intensive and chemical agriculture has caused. The sensible answer to salination of soils is prevention by sustainable farming and water management techniques. If it’s too late for prevention, then the soil must be rebuilt by incorporating plenty of organic matter into it and planting different crops in stages according to its recovery.
This sounds very much like Miss Gore and her friend’s opposition to natural gas: let the poor people freeze whilst the proper people figure out how to come up with a Church of Gaia approved solution. That may take a few decades or so, but does that matter? The proper people will be just fine, thank you for asking.
And attention, Whole Foods shoppers: you are here today because your better forebears started genetically modifying foods 11,000 years ago.
National Academy of Science: Evolution in Agriculture: The Domestication of Wheat
When humans understand a phenomenon that occurs in nature, they often gain increased control over it or can adapt it to new uses. The domestication of wheat is a good example.
By recovering seeds from different archaeological sites and noticing changes in their characteristics over the centuries, scientists have hypothesized how wheat was altered by humans over time. About 11,000 years ago, people in the Middle East began growing plants for food rather than relying entirely on the wild plants and animals they could gather or hunt. These early farmers began saving seeds from plants with particularly favorable traits and planting those seeds in the next growing season. Through this process of “artificial selection,” they created a variety of crops with characteristics particularly suited for agriculture. For example, farmers over many generations modified the traits of wild wheat so that seeds remained on the plant when ripe and could easily be separated from their hulls. Over the next few millennia, people around the world used similar processes of evolutionary change to transform many other wild plants and animals into the crops and domesticated animals we rely on today.
In recent years, plant scientists have begun making hybrids of wheat with some of their wild relatives from the Middle East and elsewhere. Using these hybrids, they have bred wheat varieties that are increasingly resistant to droughts, heat, and pests. Most recently, molecular biologists have been identifying the genes in the DNA of plants that are responsible for their advantageous traits so that these genes can be incorporated into other crops. These advances rely on an understanding of evolution to analyze the relationships among plants and to search for the traits that can be used to improve crops.