Why I Still Oppose Genetically Modified Crops
For the past dozen years, I’ve been writing editorials opposing the introduction of genetically modified crops. When I began, genetically modified corn and soybeans were still just getting a foothold in American fields. Now, of course, hundreds of millions of acres — here and abroad — have been planted to these new varieties, which are usually engineered to withstand the application of pesticides — pesticides usually made by the same companies that engineer the seeds. Even wheat and rice producers — latecomers to the genetically modified table — are feeling the pressure to convert.
There has been a frenzy in the grain markets in the past couple of years — a new volatility in futures and in prices on the ground — that seems to favor genetically modified crops. It makes sense. The cost of conventionally-grown grain goes up and up because there is less and less of it. This leaves the world open to the nearly unchecked proliferation of genetically modified varieties.
After a dozen years, I still oppose genetically modified crops. This may sound like sheer truculence on my part — a Luddite reluctance to accept the future. It is certainly dispiriting. Like many people, I feel, as I did a decade ago, that genetically modified crops were introduced with bland assurances of safety based on studies from small test plots, a far different thing from the uncontrolled global experiment we now find ourselves in the midst of.