December 17 2012
Alarmism about Genetically Modified Foods
Americans want a safe, secure and abundant food supply for themselves and for people around the world. Genetically modified food plays an important part in achieving that goal. Sadly, however, misinformation about GM food is causing needless alarm and fueling efforts to restrict its use.
Internationally, hunger remains a significant problem. An estimated 925 million people worldwide are currently undernourished; the vast majority (the United Nations estimates 98 percent) live in developing nations. Sixty percent of the world's hungry are women. A third of all childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are due to hunger-related diseases.
While not a panacea, GM food may offer some relief for people in developing nations by increasing crop yields and lowering the price of food. However, non-governmental organizations and some public health officials (both in the U.S. and internationally) are distorting the truth about GM products and discouraging agricultural progress.
Domestic opposition to GM food is also driving research dollars away from American educational institutions and private research facilities. As a result, American researchers are moving projects to other countries, like China and Brazil, where crop biotechnology is still supported.
The United States should lead on agriculture innovation and reap the economic benefits that will come with new products entering the marketplace. Continued fear-mongering about GM products will only exacerbate America's economic problems and keep lifesaving GM food products from the hungry.