Bill Gates Ruffles Feathers, Defends Genetically Modified Organisms

Gates, Bill Gates

The week after the New Year seems to be the week of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) taking over business headlines all over the United States, and now Bill Gates is ruffling a few feathers as he defends GMO crops. Gates has requested that everyone think with an open mind about the fact that the modified seeds are a need of the hour and cannot be ignored without a comprehensive and conclusive study of their side effects.

It all started when a bill introduced in the island of Hawaii to ban genetically engineered crops in May, 2013 led to a lot of questions in the minds of the general population. The resulting hype against GMOs left many companies in the processed food industry with jitters since a majority of them use GMOs in their products. All such products used are certified safe after scientific investigations.

Such negative reactions and demand for stringent laws against GMO crops would be detrimental to business. The discussion also seems to have found a greater push since the announcement by General Mills that it will be making its Cheerios “GMO free.”

For the uninitiated, a genetically modified organism (GMO) is a living organism, the genetic material of which has been modified. The alteration may be achieved either by mutation, deletion or insertion of genes from another species to achieve certain desirable characteristics such as bigger size or resistance to disease or bugs.

Extensively used in processed and other food items, GMO crops form a major portion of today’s soybean and corn production and are also gaining traction in the production of canola oil, alfalfa and sugar beets as well.

Another well-known name in the form of Bill Gates defending genetically modified organisms and the resulting GMO crops can only lead to discussions going forward with greater vigor. He has touched a few nerves and ruffled enough feathers to boost the topic’s importance further with his request that all keep an open mind going forward.

Gates is of the opinion that GMOs are a particularly important subject for poor countries where the government finds it very difficult feed everyone. Such countries should adopt safe testing and innovation practices similar to what they follow for medicines.  Safety checks would mitigate the concerns of  consumers and also ensure that healthy drought and disease resistant crops could be achieved.

With an estimated 85 percent of U.S corn output already being genetically modified, it is likely that others are soon to follow suit. Since, everyone has their own take on the subject, it has become important to highlight the bottom line and put forth a variety of viewpoints.

This shifts the balance in favor of the customer who can then decide what they desire and then mold business practices to meet that demand effectively.

U.S. regulators View

  • Used in U.S for 20 years and deemed safe
  • FDA regulates its usage (This raises the question, though, if it’s safe then why the need to regulate?)

Critics View:

  • Genetic engineering alters nutritional value, creates toxic plants or allergic molecules
  • Need more research
  • GMOs are herbicide resistant thus lead to higher herbicide use

World View:

  • EU tests and insists on labeling GMO products
  • It’s banned in Switzerland, Austria and Hungary
  • Plants and animals with GMOs are banned in Japan, New-Zealand and parts of Australia.
  • Counties in California and in other parts of the United States are also contemplating bans on GMOs

It is difficult to pinpoint where this storm has its origin, it could be from The New York Times report by Amy Harmon or the continued discussion by other news agencies. It sure has taken the fancy and fear of the gullible consumers to another level.

Whether there would be a more matured response from business houses in-terms of labeling of GMO products, whether they will say cheers to Cheerio’s example and drop GMO from their products or whether GMOs will become a part of everyone’s generic lifestyle forever will soon become apparent.

All the people currently rallying against or defending Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops should, in effect, listen to Bill Gates and discuss the entire gamut of viewpoints with an open mind. Only then will the world  be able to reach a definitive and all-inclusive solution to the concerns that GMO crops have bought into the limelight and ease the ruffled feathers in the milieu.

Editorial By Daris Abraham

Sources:
Quartz
NYtimes
CrowdVoice
USAtoday

2 Responses to "Bill Gates Ruffles Feathers, Defends Genetically Modified Organisms"

  1. Jennifer Reints   February 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I agree with Geoffrey Last and I’ll also add, GMO’s have had only the small scale and short term tests publicized where either no or little affects were found, but there were a few long term tests that were done that have been hidden due to the drastic affects that took place such as development of tumors, impotence, birth defects ect. These tests were done with variations of GMO products, some with the pesticides, some without, some that where added to everyday foods that people eat in stores. The ones with the Monsanto chemicals added were the ones that wreaked the most havoc in the long term tests. These included the the foods with the GMO’s added. The tests with the pesticide free GMO’s were not nearly as affected. Many food allergies have been linked to GMO’s due to their imbalanced genes from that of nature.
    The last thing I’ll say here is that, there is plenty of ability to grow enough food for the all the hungry and non hungry people in the world several times over if we would just make it either public or law to stop being wasteful and to educate the children and the adults on how to both eat a proper mainly plant diet with less meats so as to lessen the impact on how much of our crops go to market animals. The intense amount of our worlds crops end up feeding the animals that we seem to demand so intensely and has a huge impact on the available foods that would normally be free to ship to other countries and help feed the starving. I know that GMO’s have been one of the main feeds that these factory farms get because they are cheap, but they are not necessary, and as Geoffrey Last explained they are devastating to both the farmers and the farmers who are trying to make a living on their own. I have looked at both sides willingly and I have seen that any positives that there are about GMO’s, just don’t seem to come close to out weighing the bad.

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  2. GEOFFREY LAST   February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    The science of GMO is not so bad in and of itself . What has really happened is that large corporations are using their proprietary rights to sue farmers who’s crops have been cross pollinated by GMO by what ever means. Using their vast resources of money to tie them up in court putting more stress on already stressed small farmers. People who want to grow organically crops are being contaminated by GMOs then sued for their seed. Bill Gates with his altruistic motivations turns a blind eye( of course he has a large investment) to this corporate bullying, pesticide and herbicide spraying drift and that science is not a neutral party in this A large part of the scientific community are funded by these very corporations. DO NOT GET THE RIGHT RESULTS LOOSE THEIR FUNDING LOOSE THEIR JOBS LOOSE THEIR HOMES ETC ANYBODY AND I MEAN ANYBODY WHO IS NOT AWARE OF THIS IS ASLEEP AND I WILL NOT EVEN BEGIN TO TALK ABOUT POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP

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