Golden rice and scientific consensus
Carmelo Ruiz | 07.15.2016
“The GMO debate is over! The alarmist activists have lost and science has won!”
Well – that’s the impression one gets when reading journalist Joel Achenbach’s Washington Post article detailing the open letter that 107 Nobel laureates signed on to, which attacks the environmental group Greenpeace for its opposition to GMO crops (1).
The letter specifically defends GMO vitamin A-enhanced ‘golden rice’, which according to biotech supporters, is needed to alleviate the suffering of millions of Asians who suffer from vitamin A deficiency (2). Ultimately, the text suggests that Greenpeace is the one obstacle preventing the wonder rice from addressing the needs of the world’s poor and hungry.
Achenbach writes that the consensus among scientists is that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) do not present new or novel risks, and refers to a US National Academy of Sciences report on the subject published in May (3). The Post article acknowledges that Greenpeace is not alone in its critical position on GMOs, but it does not mention who else is in the opposition, and defines the debate as one between “mainstream scientists and activists.”
However, not all scientists and experts are impressed with the letter. Far from it.