Letters to the Editor

GMO foods are not the answer to world hunger

Just because you use the word “science,” “scientist” or “scientific” multiple times doesn’t make your arguments valid (“Don’t ignore science behind GMOs,” page A4, June 7 Herald).

How about some facts?

The following are countries that either have restrictions or outright ban GMO food:

Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Japan, Philippines, Norway, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Paraguay. The European Union has considered a Europe-wide banning of GMO foods (e-How).

In relation to our health, here’s how we line up with our peers:

Italy, second; Japan, fifth; Spain, seventh; Germany, 10th; Austria, 12th; France, 13th; Greece, 16th; Norway, 18th; Ireland, 19th; United Kingdom, 21st; and USA, 33rd. (Bloomberg Rankings: World’s Healthiest Countries).

According to the OECD (an international economics group consisting of 34 nations), since 1960 we’ve only gained nine years of life expectancy compared to the average OECD country of 11 years and Japan of 15.

The average American will spend $8,233 annually on healthcare compared to the OECD average of $3,268 which works out to 17.6 percent of our GDP.

Clearly something is wrong with this picture. Why are all these countries so concerned about GMOs and why is our health rate so far below most developed countries?

The FDA has ruled that GMO foods are substantially equivalent and there’s no need for special regulation. How can combining the genes of tomato and a fish be anywhere near equivalent? How does hormone mimicking pesticides put right into our food make any sense?

According to the article in Scientific American, “Do Seed Companies Control GMO Crop Research?,” it is impossible to verify GMO results. Scientists must ask permission to publish research and the agribusiness has veto power because of patent rights. Scientists are explicitly forbidden to use seeds for independent research and nothing unflattering is ever allowed.

Finally, in reference to the argument we need GMO to save the world’s hungry, although GMO foods have been around for a while the UN says global hunger is getting worse (Euro News.)

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Aid can only address a small fraction of the overall hunger problem. Economic and income growth represent the most important basis for reduction of hunger.

Hallette Salazar
Kingston

 

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