Now that chemical giant Bayer is poised to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, the public may be tempted to believe that the herbicide is indeed very dangerous. Organic industry-funded advocacy group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) certainly wants consumers to believe that. The California-based nonprofit has played a key role in the litigation, providing evidence the plaintiffs’ lawyers have used to make their case.

“Studies link glyphosate to a range of health concerns,” USRTK declared in a 2019 article, Glyphosate Spin Check: Tracking Claims About the Most Widely Used Herbicide, “including cancer, endocrine disruption…

International Rice Research Institute via Wikimedia Commons

For us in the West, the ferocious debate over genetic engineering isn’t a matter of life and death. We argue about the safety of Impossible Burgers and the potential risks associated with new breeding techniques like CRISPR gene editing, but nobody will go hungry or die of malnutrition pending the outcome of these arguments. Sadly, the same isn’t true in the developing world.

The tragic tale of global vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and the life-saving (but still unavailable) solution known as Golden Rice has been told millions of times, 246 million according to Google. But to briefly recap: roughly 250…

GM crops aren’t ‘unnatural.’ Here’s why

Anti-biotech activists have long argued that genetically modified crops are “unnatural.” The popular food certifying non-profit Non-GMO project, for example, claims that

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

The Institute for Responsible Technology, a one-man operation headed by anti-GMO activist Jeffery Smith, adds that “….genetic engineers must force the DNA from one organism into another. Their methods include….using …

Farmers who grow biotech crops have earned an additional $225 billion and greatly reduced agriculture’s contribution to climate change, according to a July 2020 report examining the 22-year period 1996–2018, “GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996–2018.” As added benefits, biotech crop cultivation has limited the expansion of land use for farming and reduced pesticide use by 776 million kilograms, concluded Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot of PG Economics, a London-based agricultural consulting company. …

Cameron English

Managing editor at Genetic Literacy Project, co-host of Science Facts and Fallacies podcast: Twitter @camjenglish

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