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Red Herring - Letter to the Editor

By C.S. Prakash

Stephan Herrera's article on Monsanto and its charismatic CEO, Bob Shapiro, ("Reversal of Fortune," March) provided a balanced perspective on this company in these troubled times when consumers appear to be questioning the value of genetically modified foods.

This consumer backlash is being incited by environmental activists and the organic produce industry through fear tactics and scaremongering that have nothing to do with food safety or environmental concerns. While Monsanto may have erred in reading the European consumer scene, the genetically modified foods, which are subjected to enormous safety tests, are as safe as conventionally produced foods. Genetic modification of crops represents a major tool in improving agricultural productivity around the world, especially in developing countries.

We need to remember that, while Western countries can afford to indulge in the luxury of attacking agricultural biotechnology and its companies, this could eventually do the most harm to the poor in the developing world.