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Goodall on GMO’s: “I Truly Believe We’re Poisoning Ourselves”

Andrea Smardon
Jane Goodall speaks in support of Steven Druker's book, "Altered Genes, Twisted Truth". (April 24th, 2015)

Primatologist Jane Goodall was speaking in Salt Lake City at a sold-out event Friday evening about her work and the future of chimpanzees. But in the afternoon, she lent her fame and clout to a more controversial cause. Goodall appeared with Steven Druker, the author of a book that aims to wipe out genetically modified organisms from the world’s food supply.

In a talk sponsored by the Pax Natura Foundation, Jane Goodall thanked Steven Druker for writing his book, “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.” She herself wrote the forward and she said the book substantiated her concerns that genetically engineered foods were dangerous.

“We’re poisoning the land, we’re poisoning animals, and I truly believe we’re poisoning ourselves,” Goodall said. She pointed to superbugs that have become resistant to pesticides, weeds resistant to herbicides, and isolated animal studies in Europe and Australia where she said rats and pigs suffered from a variety of health issues when consuming genetically engineered crops.

“Have we been affected? What about the rise of certain illnesses and complaints in the human community, what about the increase in allergies, what about the increase of some kinds of mental disorders?” she asked.

Randy Parker, CEO of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, says Goodall and Druker are doing a disservice to the people of Utah and around the world.

“To me this is all about extremism and scaring people,” Parker says. He says without genetically modified crops, we would not have the levels of food productivity that we have today.

“I’ve never heard in all of the literature that I’ve reviewed of one single case of a GMO related plant or animal causing a health problem for a human being or for an animal for that matter,” he says. “I think this is an activist, radical viewpoint.”

The 80-year-old Goodall apologized at the end of her talk for a few stumbles where she lost her train of thought, but she says she’s hopeful that as the young people of today become more aware of the dangers of genetic engineering, they will eliminate GMO’s from the food supply.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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