Frankenfoods or Life-Saving Staples? AEI Author Jon Entine to Discuss Upcoming WTO Biotech Verdict

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Jon Entine to host an event on the upcoming WTO Biotech verdict on Tuesday February 14, 2006 at the Wohlstetter Conference Center in Washington, D.C. (See event details below for more information).

not an inherently hazardous process

Jon Entine (Click here for bio), adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute’s National Research Initiative, scholar in residence at Miami University in Ohio, and a contributing author and editor of Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics Is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture (AEI Press, January 2006 -- click here to view) will be hosting an event on the upcoming WTO Biotech verdict on Tuesday February 14, 2006 at the Wohlstetter Conference Center in Washington, D.C. (See event details below for more information).

According to Jon Entine, more than one million children die each year and another half million go blind or suffer from infections, measles, or malaria because of a lack of Vitamin A. Yet a revolutionary solution to this malignant crisis -- a vitamin-enhanced version of the world’s most popular staple called Golden Rice—remains unutilized, the victim of trade disputes and anti-genetic science advocacy groups even though it has been proven to be safe and it is being developed patent-free by scientists from around the world.

Entine and his British and American co-authors explain why the fate of millions of the world's poor and malnourished hangs in the balance as the World Trade Organization prepares to issue its long awaited landmark ruling on the six-year embargo on biotech crops by the European Union. Expected on February 7th, the WTO verdict on the case filed by the United States, Canada, and Argentina, and joined by many of the world's leading farming countries, may determine whether innovative technologies will continue to suffer from the effects of the "precautionary principle" -- the controversial notion that innovation should be shelved unless all risks can be avoided.

Among the key points made in Let Them Eat Precaution:

  •     Cultural politics and trade disputes, not science, pose the biggest hurdles in developing genetically modified products.

  •     Countless independent scientific studies have shown that biotech farming can dramatically reduce reliance on costly and environmentally harmful chemicals, with results as safe and healthy as organic products.
  •     Bioengineering has created new kinds of soybeans, wheat, and cotton that generate natural insecticides (making them more resistant to pests and drought and increasing yields); nutrition-added fruits, vegetables, and grains; and futuristic "farmaceuticals"—life-saving medicines made by melding agricultural methods with advanced biotechnology.
  •     Even though the National Academy of Sciences issued a report two years ago calling the fears of anti-biotechnology "scientifically unjustified," noting that genetic engineering is "not an inherently hazardous process,” opponents—including well-funded environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth; organic advocates; religious groups such as Christian Aid; and "socially responsible" investors—argue that the U.S. government and multinational corporations are ushering in an age of "Frankenfoods."
  •     Ironically, while the political battle simmers in Europe and North America, fast-growing countries such as China, India, Brazil, and even Iran are growing record amounts of genetically modified (GM) cotton and rice altered to resist insects which reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The acreage devoted to GM crops is growing at double-digit rates, increasing to 222 million acres last year, although growth in the U.S. and other major farming countries is slowing because of political opposition.

Jon Entine, editor and coauthor of Let Them Eat Precaution can be interviewed about the WTO dispute and biotech crops. He can be reached at (513) 527-4385 (office) or (513) 319-8388 (cell).

To receive a complimentary copy of Let Them Eat Precaution, or for other media inquiries, please contact Veronique Rodman at AEI, at (202) 862-4870.

UPCOMING EVENT ON THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE:

Panic Attack: The New Precautionary Culture, the Politics of Fear, and the Risks to Innovation

Cosponsored by the UK Institute of Ideas

To register: http://www.aei.org/event1246

WHEN: Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM

(Registration: 8:45 AM)

WHAT:

Our culture is in the grip of the “precautionary principle,” and from agricultural biotechnology and biomedicine to geopolitics and international business, risk aversion has become a defining and paralyzing ethic of our time. This conference will promote discussion of why so many aspects of contemporary life have been affected by our aversion to risk, and suggest that only by challenging the wider risk-averse culture can we hope to rediscover a sense of purpose about progress and a desire to experiment with new ways of doing things.

WHO:

Introduction: Jon Entine, AEI

The Politics of Fear

Frank Furedi, University of Kent

Roger Bate (discussant and moderator)

Culture and Education

Claire Fox, UK Institute of Ideas

Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI

Charles Paul Freund, Reason (moderator)

Law and Business

Philip K. Howard, Covington and Burling

Jon Entine, AEI

Robert Pollock, The Wall Street Journal (moderator)

Keynote Address: The Precautionary Principle and the International Conflict over Agricultural Biotechnology

Lester Crawford, Policy Directions, Inc., former FDA commissioner

Media and Science

Tony Gilland, UK Institute of Ideas

James K. Glassman, AEI

Ron Bailey, Reason

Jon Entine, AEI (moderator)

Can We Rediscover Our Purpose and Commitment to Innovation?

Frank Furedi, University of Kent

Alan Wolfe, Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College

Tony Gilland, UK Institute of Ideas (moderator)

WHERE:

Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI

1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

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