Washington, D.C.- More than 100 Nobel laureates signed a letter to the GreenPeace organization to end the campaign against crops and food improved by biotechnology because they do not represent a danger to humans nor animals. The scientists urge the activists to reconsider their position because one of the genetically modified organisms, Golden Rice, can prevent millions of death caused by vitamin A deficiency.

The letter was made public during a news conference at Washington D.C, Thursday, and its campaign was led by the chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs, Richard Roberts, who is also the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology of medicine for the discovery of genetic sequences known as introns.

The golden child of the pro-GMO advocates just got a little tarnished. Image courtesy of Reuters/Erik de Castro/Quartz

The missive says that the scientist community and regulatory agencies around the world have found crops and food genetically modified safe. It states that there has never been a single confirmed case of adverse health outcomes nor for humans or animals.

The letter continues and says that regarding the environmental effects; GMOs are less damaging and that they are a boon to global biodiversity.

The letter mentions that Greenpeace has opposed to Golden Rice, which has the potential to prevent and even eliminate deaths and diseases caused by vitamin A deficiency which has a significant impact on the poorest people in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The letter also uses data from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, who estimate that 250 million people suffer from VDA, and it affects between 250 thousand to 500 thousand children each year.

By Wednesday morning the number of Nobel laureates signatories rose to 107 names.

Greenpeace condemns ‘genetic pollution’

According to the Washington Post, organizations against GMOs do not trust in the safe consumption of these products because they may harm people and animals. They also argue that the GMO have not shown improvements in crop yields and that these crops lead to excessive use of herbicides.

About genetic pollution, Greenpeace says that genetic engineering plants and animals can spread through nature and interfere with the natural course of non-genetically engineered organisms.

The focus of the opponents to GMOs is the economic and social consequences of the lab-modified crops on small farmers.

On June 30, Greenpeace answer to the scientists letter and said that Golden Rice has more than 20 years of research, and it is not currently available for sale, declaring the GMO product a failure, the Washington Post reported.

Wilhelmina Pelegrina, a Greenpeace campaigner at Southeast Asia, said that according to the Rice Research Institute,  Golden Rice had not been proven to address vitamin A deficiency.

Greenpeace stated that the only guaranteed solution to face malnutrition is to provide people with green food that will also help to combat climate change.

The organization stated that Golden Rice had diverted attention from methods that do work, and that can fight against malnutrition.

Pelegrina said that Greenpeace Philippines is working with NGO farmers and partners that could boost climate resilience, and added that there are high chances people will invest in this type of agriculture, which will empower farmers instead of pouring money to the genetically engineered Golden Rice.

Source: The Washington Post