Democratic ideals of integration for international and European nations are as old as the modern nation-state.
Ladies and gentlemen, In just about three weeks from now, on November 5, Washington State will likely pass a ballot initiative to label GMOs. Those numbers may come down a bit, but my hunch is this particular battle is lost. But as Churchill once said, it is certainly the end of the beginning.
The strategy of fighting labelling state by state will have failed, and something new will have to take its place. Today I want to outline to you some ideas about what this something new might look like. I strongly believe that biotechnology is an essential part of the toolbox to feed the world sustainably in the future.
We need crops that are resistant to new diseases, that can cope with a changing climate and that enable us to feed an increasing human population while minimising the environmental impact of agriculture. GMOs can deliver on some, though by no means all, of this challenge. They can increase nitrogen use efficiency.
They can deliver disease and pest resistance without the need for large-scale applications of agrochemicals.
They can increase productivity and thereby spare land for nature even as we work to double food production by mid-century.
And they can address challenges coming at us from global warming such as thermal tolerance limits and drought and flood problems also. Foods containing GMOs or GM-derived products are no less safe than their conventional alternatives — there is as strong a scientific consensus on this issue as there is on many comparable issues like the science of climate change.
There is no safety case and no health case against the current GMOs which are available. Indeed, GMOs may well be more safe than their conventional alternatives. There is a lot of published science which shows, for example, that GMO Bt corn — because it has less insect damage — is typically lower in carcinogenic aflatoxins mycotoxins than the alternatives.
Organic corn may be very high in terms of this particular risk, in contrast. We will have denied our plant breeders the use of a powerful technology for sustainability and food security, and we will have foreclosed an important and growing area of human knowledge. This cannot and must not be allowed to happen.
And let there be no mistake: They talk about consumer choice, but what they actually want is to remove all choice. They want what I call prohibition based on superstition. Now, as we know, much of the funding and drive behind these GMO labelling campaigns has come from the organic lobby.
And I have to hand it to them: They want to wreck biotechnology, and any collateral damage is just fine with them. Affordable food is no priority for the anti-GMO lobby. The reason is very simple. They have come up with a winning argument. It may be bad science, but it is good politics.
Who can disagree with the right to know what is in your food? On just about any issue, if you stood on a street corner and asked people whether they wanted to know what was in their food, most people would sign up. It is also a triumph of framing. The framing of the issue is exactly the one the antis want — secretive big business lining up against consumer advocates trying to deny ordinary people the right to information about that most basic of human necessities, food.
They were already fighting a rearguard battle on ground established by their opponents. So in both California and Washington State we have Monsanto and others pouring tens of millions into a campaign that to all outward appearances is desperately trying to stop people knowing where their products are being used.
Can you imagine a better opportunity for the fearmongers: What are they trying to hide? Just think of the psychology this provokes:We are delighted to host the exhibitors listed below at SDW The exhibition will be held on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th floor of the QEII Centre, June opening at am each day.
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