In his deeply flawed argument castigating opposition to genetically altered crops as anti-science and immoral, Mitch Daniels failed to mention the trove of scientific research documenting the harmful effects of the billions of pounds of the pesticide glyphosate that have been dumped on genetically modified crops and into our food chain [“Anti-GMO arguments are immoral,” op-ed, Dec. 28].
Evaluation of GMO crops that emphasizes independent science — rather than nonpublic research by pesticide companies — reflects that in 2015, the research arm of the World Health Organization analyzed all published glyphosate studies and determined the pesticide was a probable carcinogen. That finding prompted California to add glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals.
Escalating use of GMO crops and glyphosate has triggered the growth of glyphosate-resistant superweeds across nearly 100 million acres in 36 states. To combat that, pesticide companies are now pushing use of the highly toxic, drift-prone pesticide dicamba on a new generation of GMO crops that tolerate both dicamba and glyphosate.
And the majority of GMO crops fuel environmentally destructive livestock production to feed the world’s unsustainable increase in meat consumption.
Nathan Donley, Olympia, Wash.
The writer is a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
I have long been perplexed that so many people continue to condemn foods made from genetically modified organisms that have been consumed by Americans and others for decades with no deleterious effects. My organization, the DKT Liberty Project, has been providing assistance to scientists and managers who are developing golden rice in the Philippines. Golden rice is a GMO that infuses ordinary rice with vitamin A and, if made available widely, could save the lives and eyesight of millions of Asian children. Yet malicious zealots have torn up and destroyed the experimental rice paddies where this lifesaving food is being developed.
Mitch Daniels was right: Depriving others, especially in the developing world, of bountiful and nutritious GMO foods is a moral travesty.
Phil Harvey, Washington
Mitch Daniels rightly framed as “immoral” the scientifically baseless yet “concerted, deep-pockets campaign” to persuade “a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products” and “inflict their superstitions” on the world’s poor and hungry.
That “ ‘organic’ foods” industries help fund this anti-GMO hoax is no surprise. But readers may not know that some personal-injury lawyers are knee-deep in this manure pile, too. Just as elements of the plaintiffs’ bar financed a since-debunked 1998 study that falsely linked childhood vaccines to autism, helping measles make a comeback, trial lawyers’ deep pockets have also helped sustain anti-GMO mania as a means to precondition jury pools for the growing number of lawsuits they’ve filed against the critically important agricultural technology sector since early last decade.
Apparently, winning market share and lawsuits is more important to some people than feeding a hungry planet.
Darren McKinney, Washington
The writer is director of communications for the American Tort Reform Association.