Biotechnology & Food

January 25, 2000

January 25, 2000

The uncertainty swirling around biotechnology and genetically engineered products just seems to get more intense. It's hard for me to understand. For decades through plant breeding, we have been able to mix and match different characteristics from different plants. Now by using biotechnology we can do it faster. It's less expensive. What's the big deal? We've already eaten our own weight in genetically engineered foods. We didn't even notice. They've been on the market since 1994. Com, soybeans and potatoes. No one gets sick. Now with the help of a news media that is always looking to sensationalize anything and everything, science is fighting an uphill battle to save a valuable technology destined to bring unimaginable benefits to mankind.

The Europeans were spooked by the mad cow disease which was blown way out of proportion. They have plenty of food in Europe anyway. So what do they care about new technology? We're in the same boat but so far we haven't lost our head.

Would you like to know who will not give up on genetically modified products? The hungry of the world. When I was in Cuba two weeks ago we visited their genetic engineering research station. That's right. Their scientists are working to engineer new products to increase their food production since they don't have the money to buy what they need. I asked them if they had any concerns about the safety of genetically engineered food products. Of course not! I found a column written by Dennis Avery, Director of global food issues for the Hudson Institute. Interesting. He suggests that China is the likely country with the necessary technology and incentives to take the lead in genetic engineering.

I hope we don't throwaway an opportunity so promising because of some backward looking, selfish, Green Peace loudmouths.