An open letter today signed by 100 Nobel Prize Laureates calls upon the anti-technology activist group "Greenpeace to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general." The laureates point out that "scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity."
The laureates specifically demand that Greenpeace stop its attacks on Golden Rice which has been genetically enhanced to produce a vitamin A precursor as a way to prevent millions of deaths and cases of blindness annually in poor countries where the grain is the chief food staple. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in between 250,000 and 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months, according to the World Health Organization. A study by German researchers in 2014 estimated that activist opposition to the deployment of Golden Rice has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million life-years in just India alone.
Among the signatories are David Baltimore, Paul Berg, Elizabeth Blackburn, Steven Chu, Daniel Kahneman, and Harold Varmus.
The laureates' letter states:
WE CALL UPON GREENPEACE to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general;
WE CALL UPON GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD to reject Greenpeace's campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general; and to do everything in their power to oppose Greenpeace's actions and accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of modern biology, especially seeds improved through biotechnology. Opposition based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped.
How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a "crime against humanity"?
Actually, Greenpeace and other anti-biotech activists such as Naomi Klein and Vandana Shiva have long surpassed that threshold.