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The Chicago Tribune reports that when the Bush administration developed its $770 million foreign aid package designed to help alleviate some of the world food crisis, it included a component bound to be controversial – the promotion of genetically modified crops in the package.

As the paper notes, "The value or detriment of genetically modified, or bioengineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms. Proponents say that genetically modified crops can result in higher yields from plants that are hardier in harsh climates... Opponents of such crops allege that they can cause allergies, illnesses and unforeseen medical problems in those who consume them. They also contend that the administration's plan is aimed at helping American agribusinesses such as Monsanto, which manufactures genetically modified varieties of seed."

KC's View:
I'm not qualified to know whether GM crops are part of the answer to at least of some of the world food crisis, though on the surface it certainly seems that they wouldn't hurt.

It appears, though, that if the aid is seen as a way of forcing the issue on GMOs – something that has been a real point of contention between the US and much of the rest of the world – rather than doing the right thing, it is possible that it'll hurt our image rather than help it.

What I would hate to see is what should be an act of charity turn into a political hairball.