Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported on startup Intrexon Corp.’s efforts to eradicate pests responsible for inflicting “billions of dollars a year in lost revenue and crop-protection expenses.” The pests in question are diamondback moths that wreak havoc on cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower crops, and the efforts involve genetically modifying females of the species so they die before reproducing. WSJ writer Jacob Bunge adds that a GMO potato developed by J.R. Simplot Co. that develops fewer black spots from bruising recently was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Further, says the journalist, Arcadia Biosciences Inc. “is developing varieties of rice and trees that can grow in salty and dry soils.”
Readers may conclude these developments are cause for confetti, balloons and public celebrations on every street in the United States and throughout the world. However, backlash against genetically modified organisms continues unabated without any scientific evidence to support the alarms raised by what Bunge identifies as “consumer and environmental groups.”
I would add to Bunge’s list the “religious” shareholder activists at As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Both groups gin up unwarranted GMO fears and spread disinformation while advocating in their proxy shareholder resolutions for GMO labeling, public disclosure of company lobbying and political contributions, and calls to avoid using GMOs altogether.
Funny how the non-scientists at AYS and ICCR claim a “scientific consensus” for catastrophic, human-caused climate change but can’t identify one single peer-reviewed study to support their claims GMOs pose risks to the environment and consumers. Except it’s not funny at all. (more…)