HIGHTOWER: Biotech's Cynicism

"No matter how cynical you get," says Lily Tomlin, "it's almost impossible to keep up."

The current Champion of Cynicism is the infamous biotechnology industry.  It's game is to fool with the very DNA of the world's food supply-putting animal genes into tomatoes, pesticides into corn, etc.  They've done this without testing for its longterm impacts on our health and environment, then rushed their products to market without informing the public or even labeling these Frankenfoods.

So, naturally, consumers worldwide are in outraged rebellion, the stocks of these companies are collapsing, and such corporate manipulators as Monsanto are in disgrace.  How does the biotech industry plan to salvage it's image?  By launching a multimillion-dollar PR campaign that exploits the illnesses of impoverished, Third World children.

Their PR weapon is a new product named "Golden Rice," which has been doctored in the labs of European biotech giant Syngenta to produce extra beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A.  Noting that about 500,000 children go blind each year from Vitamin A deficiency, suddenly the biotech firms saw a killer opportunity to hush their critics, seize the moral high ground...and sell their tampered foodstuffs as "medicine."  So now we get tv ads with soft-focused shots of poor children and a heart-tugging message that says we must support bio-engineered foods or Third World kids will go blind.

But, wait-scientists are now pointing out that Golden Rice's humanitarian pitch is a cynical corporate ruse.  It turns out that a four year old would have to eat at least 27 bowls of this rice every day to get their minimum daily allowance of Vitamin A!  Far better, cheaper, and less dangerous, say the scientists, is simply to provide Vitamin A supplements to these children.

This is Jim Hightower saying...Golden Rice is only golden for biotech profiteers..not for the poor children its purveyors are exploiting.


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