Let the world’s hungry decide on GM food

Parker Wells, For the Review

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Genetically Modified, or “GM” food, are crops bred with genetic traits that make them more resistant to pests, more able to thrive during drought, and better at providing vital nutrients.

These plants allow farmers to use fewer pesticides, save water, and conserve land by ensuring that more of their crop will be viable for consumption, meaning they have to plant less. Fewer problems for farmers means lower costs for consumers, and fewer families going hungry around the world.

A notable example of these GM crops is “golden rice,” which is bred to contain more vitamin-A. 500,000 children go blind every year around the world due to Vitamin-A deficiency (VAD), and half die within 12 months of losing sight due to the immune system shutting down. Golden rice, and other GM technology, is a huge step forward in rescuing the world’s hungry population from the effects of starvation and malnutrition.

In June of 2016, 107 Nobel laureates wrote a letter reproaching the environmental group Greenpeace for opposing GM crops and foods.

Tragically, groups like Greenpeace have not merely opposed GM foods. They have supported the criminal destruction of golden rice test fields in the Philippines and performed their own destruction of GM test fields in Australia, thus preventing these life-saving foods from reaching deprived children.

Give the world’s hungry a better chance at life. Support GM foods.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Let the world’s hungry decide on GM food”

  1. Bob Phelps on April 15th, 2017 5:17 am

    These claims are comprehensively wrong. Virtually 100% of all GM crops are either Roundup herbicide tolerant or produce their own Bt insect toxins that kill a few insect species. These traits are mediated by single genes that have been cut-and-paste into soy, corn, canola, cotton and sugarbeet. Excepting cotton, most GM crops are grown in North and South America, chiefly for animal feed and biofuel production. Multi-gene traits such as higher yields, drought and salt tolerance, nitrogen fixation in grains, better nutrition, etc. that were promised have proven too complex to be transferred between organisms using GM techniques. The International Rice research Institute (IRRI) confirms that Golden Rice has been a technical and market failure and is not yet a commercial reality. Blaming Greenpeace for the failings of GM techniques and their products is unfair blame-shifting.

    [Reply]

  2. Gabi on April 18th, 2017 12:24 pm

    Hey Parker! Phelps does have a fair point, there are not significant studies that show GM nutrients are proper substitutes for naturally grown food, as these crops have not been around long enough to study their long-term effects. But it is still possibly worth a try!
    That being said, I do agree that innovations must be made to reach impoverished and hungry populations.
    I have a couple questions for reflection:
    These GM crops are being grown, but how are they are they being distributed to those mineral/vitamin deficient? I.e. How does adding more wasted (and potentially insufficient) crops reach those in need?
    I would love to hear from you! Thanks!

    Gabi

    Hirsh, J., Harmanci, R. Food Waste: The Next Food Revolution. September 2013.

    [Reply]

    Austin Ramsay Reply:

    Hey Gabi, Actually that claim is incorrect, many studies have shown there to be an increase in nutritional quality. And no Phelps, virtually not 100% of GE crops are roundup ready. https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/charts/38134_biotechcrops2016png/biotechcrops2016.png?v=42565 However, I think you must also take into account increased productivity and the superior sustainability of GM. They give higher yields, reduce pesticides, increase the productivity of the land, use less water, and provide more profits to farmers across the world. Current trials are underway for developing plants that fix nitrogen, possibly ending the need for fertilizer, poplar trees to soak up CO2, potatoes with less carcinogens, and many many more. This is forefront of sustainability.

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/299/5608/900
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6305/1218.full
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6305/1225
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6305/1241

    [Reply]

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Let the world’s hungry decide on GM food