Let’s be serious. We shouldn’t undermine credible efforts to solve the crisis in the world’s food supply. But rarely do the inventors of these technologies seem to understand why consumers are sceptical of their ideas and motives. There are dozens of examples of food technology “big talk” that has come to nought. Scientists and biotech companies grumble that their efforts fail because of bad press – yet it is often entirely their own fault that the public are so suspicious.
This could be true. It\’s even possible that it is true. However, I wouldn\’t use this example as proof of it:
The reality is, though, that efforts of scientists to feed the world sustainably rarely see the light of day. Twenty years ago, biotechnologists created super-nutritious GM “Golden Rice,” transforming rice with genes from a daffodil to add nutritious beta carotene. It was hoped it would reduce Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. But the project has encountered many technological difficulties, while attracting fierce opposition from pressure groups.
Golden Rice has been stopped in its tracks by an unholy alliance of woo merchants and NGOs. It actually does exactly what it says on the tin, provides a Vitamin A enriched rice. No royalties are payable, there is no copyright, patent or trademark restricting use. Yet all the mastery of PR has been deployed to stop the deployment of this \”Frankenrice\”. Supported of course by just the sort of useful idiots who write food columns about organics etc. You know, the Rose Princes of this world.