Monday, July 1, 2013

US State Department Awards "2013 World Food Prize" to Executive Vice President of Monsanto

With Monsanto's former vice president serving as Obama's Food Safety Czar, what else could you expect?

From the US State Department Press Release on 6/19/2013 (emphasis is mine):

Three Scientists Win 27th Annual World Food Prize

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 19, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State on June 19, where three distinguished scientists were named winners of the 2013 World Food Prize: Marc Van Montagu, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries, Department of Molecular Genetics at Ghent University, Belgium; Mary-Dell Chilton, Distinguished Science Fellow at Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. in Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Robert T. Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

They were honored for their independent breakthrough achievements in founding, developing and applying modern plant biotechnology. Their research has made it possible for farmers to grow crops with improved yields, resistance to insects and disease, and the ability to tolerate extreme variations in climate such as excessive heat and drought.

(Full press release at the link)

Mark Bittman at New York Times says Dr. Robert T. Fraley is a pioneer in genetic engineering in agriculture, and that Monsanto is actually a sponsor of this Prize.

What a joke.

Some of Mr. Bittman's fuming (emphasis is mine):

If Secretary of State John Kerry’s G.M.O.-boosting speech announcing the World Food Prize at the State Department last week is any indication of his ability to parse complicated issues, he might be better off windsurfing. Because Kerry appears to have bought into the big ag-driven myth that only by relying on genetic engineering will we be able to feed the nine billion citizens of our planet by 2050. And he enthusiastically endorsed granting this mockery of a prize to three biotech engineers, including Robert Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto and a pioneer of genetic engineering in agriculture.

Never mind that Monsanto is a sponsor of the prize (and that the list of other backers reads like a who’s who of big ag and big food), or that we never get to know the names of either the nominees or the nominators. [1] Never mind that we’re not feeding the seven billion now, or that we’re sickening a billion of those with a never-before-seen form of malnourishment. Never mind that we already grow enough food to feed not only everyone on the planet but everyone who’s going to be born in the next 30 or 40 years. And never mind that, despite the hype, there’s scant evidence that the involvement of genetic engineering in agriculture has done much to boost yields, reduce the use of chemicals or improve the food supply.


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