Common Sense on Biotech in UK and France!

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It may be hard to believe, but apparently there really are officials in both the UK and France who are not afraid of the use of biotechnology to improve and expand the food supply.

In the UK, a bastion of pro-organic and anti-biotechnolgy sentiment, Prime Minister Brown called for the use of genetically modified crops. In a letter to the G-8 leaders, he encouraged taking "the initiative to further develop higher-yielding and climate-resilient varieties" of food crops.

Similarly, at least some French lawmakers are starting to see the light about bioengineered foods. By a slim margin, the lower house of the French parliament passed a law that would increase penalties for deliberately damaging such crops. France has been a hot spot of anti-biotech activism, where such vandalism has been a favorite tactic. Whether or not the bill can also pass the French senate remains to be seen, but it's encouraging to learn that at least some in the legislature are paying attention to the science instead of the scares.

Food scarcity riots are already occurring in some Third World countries. We need to take advantage of all appropriate technologies to ensure the existence of a safe and abundant food supply world wide, and gene-splicing is a prime example.

Ruth Kava, Ph.D., R.D., is Director of Nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health (,

See: ACSH's full report on Biotechnology and Food.