Andrew Kimbrell doesn’t see a bright future for genetically modified crops. Speaking at the Organic Farming Conference in Wisconsin in February, Kimbrell said, “Genetic engineering for food crops is over. Genetically engineered crops will be obsolete soon.”
Kimbrell, a public interest attorney and executive director of the Center for Food Safety, gives several reasons for his prediction. One is the rejection of GM food crops in Europe, Japan, and other GMO-sensitive regions. “The United States has lost millions of dollars in exports (due to the rejection of GM crops in Europe),” said Kimbrell. Resistance to GMOs in these markets also stopped the development of GM wheat and rice. He also said that the science underlying genetic engineering is obsolete, and that genetic engineers have not been able to develop any other GM traits besides herbicide resistance and built-in pesticides. “They can’t develop other things,” he said. Finally, Kimbrell said the anti-GMO movement will stop the technology. “We will put pressure on companies that buy GM sugar beets. There is no way this industry can survive.”
Kimbrell cited last year’s court decision blocking sales of GM alfalfa as another reason why GM crops will not last. That decision is likely to set a precedent that could be used to stop other GM crops. The Center for Food Safety, which filed the lawsuit that stopped GM alfalfa, recently filed another lawsuit to stop GM sugar beets.
Kimbrell said that field trials of so-called “biopharma” GM crops, once hailed as a promising technology to produce drugs, have plunged from several hundred a few years ago to just a handful now.
Consumers also don’t want GM foods. “No one gets up in the morning saying they want GM food,” he said.