Europe s new Dark Ages threaten efforts to feed a growing population

If you were to view a map of the world and light up all of the countries who use biotechnology to generate more abundant and nutritious food supplies, all of Europe would be dark, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. This is the subject of an op-ed published in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal by Irish agronomist and farmer Jim McCarthy. McCarthy highlights statements by prominent European agricultural researcher Marion Guillou that France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research has been forced to end research into genetically-modified crops (GM crops). Eco-fundamentalists, Mr. McCarthy says, have spread baseless anti-GM fear campaigns throughout Europe, putting a halt to scientific research:

Europe can take pride in a long history of enlightened inquiry and leadership, but its recent behavior on agriculture points more toward a new Dark Ages—a period of stagnation when ideology trumps truth.

Lives are at stake. Our best scientists must focus on creative solutions to what will soon be the world's most pressing problem: increasing food production so that it can feed a world of 9 billion people by 2050.

Most Europeans have no idea even what they're up against. They assume that their governments have huge stocks of grain and beef. But it's just not there. The agricultural technologies of today are barely adequate to meet the Continent's present needs. Without progress, they'll fail in the face of the future's daunting challenges.

Thank you, Mr. McCarthy, for a well-written and poignant op-ed that calls for a scientifically-sound solution to the world’s increasingly strained food stocks.