You may have read Margaret Wente’s column in the Globe and Mail on Sept 13, in which she supports genetically engineered ‘Golden Rice’. We, at the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre, were deeply concerned about this position and submitted the following letter to the Globe and Mail:
Dear Editor of the Globe and Mail,
The Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre, (Halifax) opposes the spread of “golden rice” and other genetically modified (GM) crops. Thus we join the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Naomi Klein, Greenpeace, and other groups, in opposing the spread of golden rice. Golden rice is rice genetically modified to include sufficient carotene to counter vitamin A deficiency in children. It is patented.
The issues surrounding GM food in general, and golden rice in particular, are complex and worrisome. They appear to be about feeding people when they are really about the loss of biodiversity and the loss of a food grower’s right to produce seed for future crops. GM is part of a strategy for control of a seed market through patent protection. It is this market orientation and strategy for control that creates the conditions in which golden rice may be perceived to be needed. GM crops have largely been developed to withstand the application of proprietary herbicides, or to incorporate certain biological insecticides in their genetic makeup.The production of these unusual biochemical products limits the plant’s productive capacity, yielding not much (if any) more output. Meanwhile the grower annually becomes dependent upon expensive patented seeds, and other necessary (to those seeds) inputs, like certain fertilizers. As much as Ms. Wente wants to think that the GM model will eliminate world hunger, this is not true. Intensive cultivation of small plots of mixed agriculture with local seed saving will go much farther to that end.
-Food Action Committee, Ecology Action Centre
While it was not published, we still believe it important to add our voices to the opposition to genetically modified crops. For more information on the genetically modified food and to take action against it, please visit the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.