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Letter to the Editor: Altered crops aren't the answer

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To the editor:

The Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations has been meeting this week to address the growing global food crisis. The U.S. delegation, led by Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, is proposing that the world adopt genetically engineered crops as a silver-bullet solution. However, Shafer's solution is little more than a thinly veiled attempt at subsidizing biotech corporations and advancing the genetic contamination of organic and nongenetically altered crops in famine-stricken countries.

Genetically altered crops are untested and unwanted by the majority of the planet's population. Dozens of countries currently ban the cultivation of any genetically engineered varieties as they have yet to be proven safe for the environment or for human consumption. Additionally, genetically altered crops have not been demonstrated to significantly increase yields, but rather force farmers onto a deadly spiral of agrochemicals and corporate patent monopolies. I think the U.S. population would be shocked to learn how many genetically altered foods are already being forced upon us.

The root cause of hunger abroad has more to do with so-called free-trade agreements and market speculation than crop yields and patented hybrid crops. Genetically altered crops will only deepen the global food crisis. Impoverished and famine-stricken countries need to be supported by redeveloping their food sovereignty to avoid deepening the crisis. Global security is dependent upon long-term sustainability, not short-term corporate subsidies,

LISA SWINFORD, Jackson