Sunday, January 09, 2005


Pew's Parallel Universe

The "new biotechnology," or gene-splicing, applied to agriculture and food production is here to stay. More than 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves—soft drinks, preserves, mayonnaise, salad dressings—include ingredients from gene-spliced plants, and Americans have safely consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods. But opposition continues to genetically improving plants by use of these precise and predictable techniques, largely due to a drumbeat of misrepresentations by antibiotechnology activists. Some of these radicals, like Greenpeace, make no secret they intend to stop at nothing to eliminate gene-splicing from agriculture, while other groups claim not to oppose gene-splicing but only to want it "properly" regulated. They are subtler, and therefore more insidious. Reports by the lavishly funded Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, for example, receive extensive media and government attention, largely because Pew touts itself as the thoughtful, disinterested middle ground in the biotechnology debates. But Pew's PR machine saying that doesn't make it so....

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