Re “G.M.O. dilemma: Swaying a wary public” (Business, June 25): Those who support the widespread planting of genetically modified crops often promote the industry-created myth that genetic engineering is key to feeding a hungry world. The reality is that, generally speaking, commercial G.M.O. crops are not successfully engineered for increased yield. In fact, the vast majority of G.M.O. crops grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance, a nice way of saying they’ll survive being drenched with what would normally be a toxic dose of herbicide, usually glyphosate, the primary ingredient of Roundup. As a result, the use of glyphosate on corn and soybeans soared over the last 20 years. The World Health Organization just declared glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen. The massive increase in its use is an intense cause for significant concern.
Lori Ann Burd, Portland, Ore.
The writer is the director of the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Feeding the world is a matter of political will, not technology. Even with the anticipated food shortages that climate change will exacerbate, we are producing enough food to feed the planet. According to Mark Bittman, “The world has long produced enough calories, around 2,700 per day per human, more than enough to meet the U.N. projection of a population of nine billion in 2050, up from the current seven billion” (Opinion, Oct. 15, 2013). At the end of the day, people are hungry because they do not have food sovereignty. When farmers have land, access to markets and control of the seed supply, they can indeed feed the world.
Anthony Del Plato, Interlaken, N.Y.