However, like many things the NYT publishes, “Learning to Love GMOs” was incredibly one-sided and completely failed to mention the volumes of evidence proving that GMO crops have not only failed to live up to their promise, but they are killing people and making people sick all around the world.
Kahn penned a 7,000-plus word promotional article in favor of genetically engineered foods in the New York Times Magazine. Among its many outrageous claims is that "overblown fears have turned the public against genetically modified food” although its "potential benefits have never been greater.”
It should come as little surprise that Kahn is listed as the Narrative Program Lead for the University of California Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. The article reads like a laundry list of talking points from the agrochemical industry, and it's pretty easy to see right through it.
U.S. Right to Know recently published a piece by Stacy Malkan that identifies some of the biggest problems with GMOs that Kahn conveniently failed to mention.
For example, Malkan point outs that Kahn left out the fact that a review of two decades of data on Bt cotton in India revealed that GMO cotton is not increasing yields. Although it may have reduced the need for pesticides at first, insects eventually became resistant, and farmers are now spending more money on pesticides than they did before Bt was introduced.
Moreover, while the Gates Foundation and Bayer continue to push drought-resistant genetically engineered maize as a solution for hunger, the African Center for Biodiversity reports that these crops have failed to deliver after being trialed for decades in Africa.
There is also the disaster of genetically engineered golden rice, which has long been hailed as a solution to vitamin A deficiency. This rice is nowhere near production, according to experts, and may even be shelved.
Meanwhile, 20 years of data has shown that genetic modification in North America has not led to increases in crop yields, nor has it resulted in a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. Rather, it has ushered in a huge rise in the presence of chemicals in our food and water supplies.
Right to Know also notes that the journalism professor relied on a source that has been discredited. She quoted Mark Lynas, a writer who has been called out by scientists and food policy experts alike for his inaccurate claims about pesticides and GMOs.
She also completely neglected to mention the concerns about growing corporate control over seeds and the privatization of seed stock. Agrochemical companies have been pressuring countries across the global South to accept patented seeds, even though there has been significant resistance there and the practice has been linked to widespread bankruptcy and suicides among Indian farmers.
There is also the huge matter of off-target effects stemming from CRISPR gene editing techniques. A molecular geneticist at King's College London, Michael Antoniou, has said that the outcomes of genome editing are unpredictable.
He stated: “You basically need to conduct a long-term feeding trial in animals and see what happens … and that’s just not going on anywhere in the world for regulatory purposes, at all.”
And what about the fact that the use of toxic herbicides like glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer, has increased 15-fold since GMOs were introduced? Does she care that genetically modified crops have also led to the emergence of superbugs and superweeds that need even more toxic poisons like 2,4-D to kill?
When Kahn concludes that “We should all just learn to love GMOs,” it’s pretty clear that this entire piece is nothing but propaganda.
Sources for this article include: