Counterpunch recently published an article by Carmelo Ruiz on the open letter “signed by over 100 Nobel prize laureates blasting Greenpeace for its opposition to GMO crops, in particular so-called ‘golden rice’, supposedly high in vitamin A.”
But as Ruiz points out, “activists and critical experts see the much publicized open letter as no more than a clumsy and awkward public relations move.”
The signatories allege that GMO ‘golden rice’, which supposedly would save millions of people in Asia from vitamin A deficiency, has not been used because of the opposition of groups like Greenpeace. Therefore, according to the open letter’s logic, these activists are responsible for perpetuating world hunger. “How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a crime against humanity?”, ask the signers rhetorically.
Greenpeace responded within hours. Wilhelmina Pelegrina, who runs the organization’s agriculture campaign in Southeast Asia, said:
“Accusations that anyone is blocking genetically engineered ‘Golden’ rice are false. ‘Golden’ rice has failed as a solution and isn’t currently available for sale, even after more than 20 years of research. As admitted by the International Rice Research Institute, it has not been proven to actually address Vitamin A Deficiency. So to be clear, we are talking about something that doesn’t even exist… This costly experiment has failed to produce results for the last 20 years.” (2)
In their open letter, the Nobel laureates do not present data to support their assertion that Greenpeace has succeeded in blocking the development or regulatory approval of ‘golden rice’ in any way. They do not even provide evidence that this rice could address the problem of vitamin A deficiency. The signatories’ claims are unsupported by data or studies.