Food Fight: Rising Food Prices Have Caused Hardship in the Developing World. Robert Paarlberg Argues That It's Time to Embrace Genetically Modified Foods

The American (Washington, DC), July-August 2008 | Go to article overview

Food Fight: Rising Food Prices Have Caused Hardship in the Developing World. Robert Paarlberg Argues That It's Time to Embrace Genetically Modified Foods


At a time of soaring global food prices, it is distressing to see such stubborn resistance to genetically engineered agricultural crops, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically modified (GM) foods. These foods could help reduce hunger across the globe by increasing crop yields. Opponents often dismiss them as "Frankenfoods" that are unhealthy to eat and bad for the environment. But such criticisms are based on misplaced fears and shoddy science.

In his new book, Starved for Science, Wellesley College political scientist Robert Paarlberg offers a useful corrective. "In both Europe and the United States," he notes, "scientific authorities have repeatedly asserted there is not yet any credible evidence of new risks to human health or the environment from any of the GM foods or crops approved by regulators and placed on the market so far."

According to Paarlberg, "roughly 70 percent of all supermarket products in the United States have at least some GM content," and "approximately 25 percent of all new drugs approved for the market in rich countries" are "recombinant drugs made from GMOs." And consider this: "By 2006 farmers in the United States were using GM varieties on 89 percent of their acreage planted to soybeans, on 83 percent of their acreage planted to cotton, and on 61 percent of their acreage planted to corn."

Paarlberg ticks off a slew of well-respected agencies and scientific bodies that have endorsed GMOs. …

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