Sunday, March 13, 2005


Is AgBiotech Innovative Enough? If Not, Why Not?

Washington DC has a new baseball team, but the city's favorite pastime will surely remain "gotcha," a game in which it is possible to criticize someone for making the wrong decision, no matter what. (If the outcome is bad, he made the wrong choice; if the outcome is good, he was just lucky, or the price was too high.) Many politicians and columnists deserve membership in the Gotcha Hall of Fame. We propose a new nominee: the Washington-based, ironically misnamed Center for Science in the Public Interest, for a hypocritical and disingenuous new report about the current state of agricultural biotechnology. CSPI's "analysis" concludes that the agbiotech industry "is not innovating, it is stagnating," leaving unfulfilled its promise "that genetic engineering would spawn a cornucopia of heartier crops, more-healthful oils, delayed-ripening fruits, and many more nutritious and better-tasting foods." Also, they allege, "the biotech cupboard remains pretty bare, except for the few crops that have benefitted grain, oilseed, and cotton farmers," and supposedly there now exists "a voluntary, antiquated, and inefficient hodgepodge of a regulatory system" that must be replaced "with a mandatory system that takes risk into account." These assertions are part of activists' Big Lie about the application of the new biotechnology, or gene-splicing, to agriculture and food production -- namely, that the technology is unproven, untested and unregulated....

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