Over 1000 acres of crops are have been burned in Hungary. The reason for this destruction? The corn in these fields used genetically modified seeds. Hungary has taken a harsh stance against GMO’s despite their potential benefits. Even as the EU takes steps to allow GMO’s (including passing legislation to make them legal across Europe) Hungary continues to fall victim to many of the common misconceptions about GMO’s.
One of the main attacks used against GMO’s are claims they are unsafe. This ignores several key facts about GMO’s. Just because they are the product of gene-splicing doesn’t mean they are some sort of frankenfood. Only a few specifically selected genes are transplanted, and the results are much more predictable than traditional breeding techniques. GMO’s also go through a rigorous period of testing before they are approved by the USDA and FDA. This level of oversight simply doesn’t exist for traditionally bred plants, even though those methods are nowhere as near precise as gene-splicing.
Finally, shunning GMO’s ignores many of the benefits the present. GMO’s are often resistant to many of the pests that plague “organic” crops. This means GMO plants and crops require significantly less pesticides, which reduces the threats of overkill associated with pesticide use. Additionally some GMO’s have been designed to help fight malnutrition in the developing world. Golden Rice, for example, was designed to contain additional carotene, which would help fight off blindness in millions of children around the world.
We should be using cutting edge agricultural technologies, like GMO’s, to create a better future for humanity. Instead ignorance and fear are relegating this amazing technology to the pyre.