With all due respect, Nina Federoff's New York Times op-ed reads like it was written two decades ago, when the jury was still out about the potential of the biotech industry to reduce hunger, increase nutritional quality in foods, and decrease agriculture's reliance on toxic chemicals and other expensive inputs that most of the world's farmers can't afford.
With more than 15 years of commercialized GMOs behind us, we know not to believe these promises any longer.
Around the world, from the Government Office for Science in the U.K. to the National Research Council in the United States to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., there is consensus: In order to address the roots of hunger today and build a food system that will feed humanity into the future, we must invest in "sustainable intensification"-not expensive GMO technology that threatens biodiversity, has never proven its superiority, even in yields, and locks us into dependence on fossil fuels, fossil water, and agrochemicals.
By definition, sustainable intensification means producing abundant food while reducing agriculture's negative impacts on the environment. Water pollution from pesticide run-off and soil degradation from synthetic fertilizer use are just two examples of the costs of industrial agriculture. And, mind you, nearly all of the GMO crops planted today rely on synthetic fertilizer and pesticides.