Amanda Maxham, Ph.D., Ayn Rand Institute’s resident expert on science and the environment, says genetically modified foods (GMO) are beneficial, strongly contradicting a growing contingent of activists pressing for governments and businesses to limit or ban their use.
In May, Maxham praised GMOs in a lecture she delivered in Chicago titled “Why GMOs Are Good.” The event was sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies.
Although many people believe organic and non-GMO foods are healthy and genetically engineered foods are not, the truth is GMO technology has been improving the food we eat for the past 20 years, making it safer, more nutritious, and plentiful, Maxham says. As the public continues to be misinformed by activists such as Dr. Oz, Foodbabe, and some environmental groups, the world continues to miss out on the life-changing food improvements GMOs provide.
Regulatory Environment Stifling Biotech
GMO foods are designed to expand yields, resist weeds and insects, and survive drought, Maxham says. Farmers and consumers alike are reaping the benefits, but there is an army of anti-GMO activists arguing biotechnology is bad and poisonous.
“As a result, the regulatory environment makes it very difficult to bring a new product to market, even though it might be perfectly safe to eat,” said Maxham. “This is a real suppression of technology that could be feeding people and preventing and curing diseases.
“GMOs are just another form of technology,” Maxham said. “I find it strange that we embrace every other form of technology in our lives but not when it comes to food.”
GMOs Prevent Habitat Loss
Environmentalists are masters at preying on many people’s fear of things they do not understand. Many Americans don’t realize that although the technology is different between GMOs and traditional agricultural cross-breeding, the end result is substantially the same, says H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News.
“The GMO debate is arguably the best test case today for whether those who claim to be environmentalists really care about the environment, because without the widespread adoption of biotechnology to increase yields and decrease inputs, producing the food needed to feed another two billion people nutritious diets will require the wholesale conversion of innumerable lands and wildlife habitats to farm fields,” Burnett said.
It will also require the increased use of more powerful pesticides, says Burnett. Habitat loss is already the single biggest factor in wildlife population declines and extinction.
“So if you care about wildlife and open, wild spaces, you should embrace biotechnology,” said Burnett.
Matthew Glans ([email protected]) is a senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute.