Genetically modified organisms: NYT/Grist gets it right; Hawaii County Council gets it wrong!

I have written extensively concerning the benefits of GMO/Biotech foods. As I have argued at length, the best available evidence shows that they are safe and have the potential to be tremendously beneficial to present and future generations. 

Sadly, on the topic of GMO foods, even more than on most other environmental scare stories hyped by environmental alarmists, the scare has won the day in Hawaii.  The state has a thriving GMO industry that employs thousands of people.  Yet, despite testimony by noted scientists and the hard work of some responsible public servants, as reported by the American Council for Science and Health, the county council for the main island voted to ban the cultivation of GMO crops except for two already established crops.

An interesting piece in the New York Times points out that even the environmentally beyond reproach online publication Grist has now released a series of reports largely supporting the safety and efficacy of GMO crops.  The Times report also examines the psychology of GMOphobes and discusses why, even when a source they usually trust verifies the value of biotech foods to the world, they will be unlikely to change their minds.

Comments (15)

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  1. Mary says:

    Another example of people letting fear stand in the way of progress.

  2. Ted says:

    At a time when jobs are already hard to come by, why would a state choose to cut off an opportunity like this?

    • Lucas says:

      Closed mindedness

    • Lacey says:

      Because GMOs weird people out. Somehow, a modified piece of fruit is weirder to them than other man-made foods, like Cheetos.

      • Jane says:

        Obviously all man-made things are evil. Vaccines, airplanes, GMOs – all terrible and evil. Because they’re man-made.

      • Julie says:

        Hah, I haven’t thought about it that way before!

        • Nancy says:

          People seem to be ok with modifying fruit to taste like other things – take the Grapples, which are apples that taste like grapes, or the grapes that taste like cotton candy. Why is it any different to make food that grows more effectively?

  3. DW says:

    “Sadly, on the topic of GMO foods, even more than on most other environmental scare stories hyped by environmental alarmists, the scare has won the day in Hawaii.”

    Unfortunately, Hawaii does have the market solidified on crops such as pineapples and macadamia nuts. Choosing to go GMO free may only increase the prices of these crops.

    • Trent says:

      “exceptions were made for 2 such crops already established there, “Rainbow papaya”, a genetic modification which all seemed to agree had saved the island’s papaya crop, and a GM corn only recently planted to feed cows.”

      They agreed GM Papaya had saved the species yet they still voted to ban all other GMOs. Maybe the Papaya industry are the ones who lobbied for these changes?

      • Mary says:

        Or the pineapple or macadamia nut industries. If DW is right, and going GMO free increases the prices of either, it could put more money in these farmers’ pockets.

        • Trent says:

          I don’t think it will for numerous reasons. The most obvious of which is decreased potential yields and vulnerability to diseases.

          • Lacey says:

            In that case, shouldn’t GMOs be a no-brainer for the pineapple and macadamia industries? The ability to produce more, less vulnerable products sounds like a great thing for them.

            • Ted says:

              Hasn’t Disney been doing this at Epcot for years now? I think they were working on square watermelons for a while. Easier to package and ship that way.