We've been saying for years that the anti-GMO folks haven't a scientific leg to stand on that their stance is based on irrational fears of anything they think is "unnatural." Now an article in the Washington Post points out, once again, how basically haphazard and irrational that stance is.
Those who have been following the anti-GMO movement have surely heard of Bt, short for Bacillus thuringiensis. This is a bacterium, found in soil, that produces a protein that is lethal to crop-eating insects. It's so effective that organic farmers have been spraying it on their crops for years. But since it doesn't stick around, repeated spraying is necessary.
But here's the rub: Some crops, such as corn, have been genetically engineered to produce the Bt protein themselves, thus eliminating the need to spray the crops with it. You might think that farmers would be delighted to save the time and fuel involved with spraying. But you'd be wrong. Organic farmers were up in arms about this advance, saying that "their" natural pesticide had been stolen by big, bad GMO corporations. And of course anti-GMO-ers say that such crops are dangerous to one's health.
However, as the Post article points out, consumers eating organic crops sprayed with Bt are likely consuming MORE of it than are people eating the GMO variety. How's that for just plain silliness?
Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH's senior nutrition fellow, had this comment: "The Washington Post article points out how completely illogical and unscientific the anti-GMO movement is. By preying on people's fears of the unknown, it helps no one but the organic foods business. It makes no difference to human health whether a protein is sprayed on a crop or incorporated into the plant itself. What the GMO variety might be, however, is better for the environment, since less spraying means less fuel for farm equipment use." Continuing, Dr. Kava offered this advice: "For accurate information about genetic engineering and agriculture, see the ACSH publication Food and You: A Guide to Modern Agricultural Biotechnology."