Iowans, these days, are getting a front-row view of the hypocrisy that is displayed regularly by opponents of genetically-modified foods, or GMOs.

The anti-GMO group loves to scare consumers by suggesting the technology just hasn’t been properly tested. But then they loudly protest against each and every test.

These groups also claim that GMO foods really don’t bring any advantages to consumers or to society, and that the gains go solely to agricultural technology companies. But they regularly scorn and do everything in their power to halt research and cultivation of genetically-modified foods which promise clear life-saving advances.

This well-worn pattern is playing out these days at Iowa State University (ISU), according to press reports.

A banana, developed in Australia, has been modified to help people produce vitamin A. Having more vitamin A, says ISU food science professor Wendy White, can help reduce the childhood deaths from infectious diseases in developing countries. And it’s important to add the nutrient, which in this case is taken from another banana species, into a type of banana that east Africans often use in cooking, White says.

Opting-in for testing

The ISU researcher sent an email to students a couple of years ago looking for a dozen women willing to participate in the study. She got 500 responses and chose 12 to participate in the study.

The trial was delayed because the bananas were not yet available, but is expected to occur sometime in 2016.

OK, so we have a dozen college students opting into the study to develop a technology that could help save lives in the developing world. Sounds pretty good to me.

But, of course the anti-GMO crowd is trying to stop it. They are ginning up wrong-headed petitions and protests against the ISU study in Ames.

It’s the same pattern we’ve seen with golden rice, which is also modified to provide essential nutrients, and papayas modified to resist a devastating disease. In each case the anti-biotech protests have stopped testing, slowed development and kept promising food products from farmers and consumers.

The anti-GMO crowd truly is dedicated on its cause. It’s just too bad that its cause really has little to do with helping humanity.