The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution



Announcing a timely and incisive<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

book on one of the most

controversial issues of our time …


The Frankenfood Myth

How Protest and Politics

Threaten the Biotech Revolution


By Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko


With a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug



In this provocative and meticulously researched book, Henry Miller and Gregory Conko trace the origins of gene-splicing, its applications, and the backlash from consumer groups and government agencies against so-called “Frankenfoods”—from America to Zimbabwe. They explain how a “happy conspiracy” of anti-technology activism, bureaucratic overreach, and industry maneuvering has resulted in a regulatory framework that squanders advances in biotechnology and denies farmers and consumers in the U.S. and abroad the benefits of this safe and environmentally beneficial tool.


The authors go on to suggest a way to emerge from this morass, which stems in no small part from a cynical lobbying strategy by the very biotechnology companies that now find themselves so heavily regulated and frequently attacked. They propose a variety of business and policy reforms that can unlock the potential of this cutting-edge science, while ensuring appropriate safeguards and moving environmentally friendly products into the hands of farmers and consumers.




Henry I. Miller, M.D., is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, where his research focuses on public policy toward science and technology, especially pharmaceutical development and the new biotechnology. He was previously the founding director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology.


Gregory Conko is Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is also the Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the AgBioWorld Foundation, which provides information to teachers, journalists, policymakers, and the general public about developments in plant science, biotechnology, and sustainable agriculture.





The Frankenfood Myth

How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution


By Henry I.Miller and Gregory Conko

Praeger Publishers 2004



“Misguided public policies have seriously restricted research on, and applications of, genetic engineering in agriculture. Miller and Conko analyze why and how this has occurred. They point out the danger that the present unwarranted regulatory oppression will become the norm, and they make a strong case for drastic change in present policies. Their call for policies based on realistic risk-benefit considerations needs to be heard loudly by those responsible for the present fiasco.”


Paul D. Boyer, PhD

Emeritus Professor,Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />University of California at Los Angeles

Co-Winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry



“People are starving because frightened, ignorant, self-centered people coined the word ‘Frankenfood.’ Genetically engineered crops could save millions of lives, if regulators and misguided activists would just get out of the way. Scientists have done their part; they created the technology to feed a lot of starving people. Miller and Conko are doing their part; they’ve written a book that will change the debate over biotechnology and how it’s regulated. Miller and Conko describe biotech’s potential to both alleviate human suffering and improve environmental stewardship, and they offer science-based models for regulation. It’s time for the rest of us to do our part – read the book, fight the power, and feed the people. The hard work is done; all we have left to do is get policy-makers to do the right thing.”


Penn Jillette

The louder, bigger half of the magic/comedy team of Penn & Teller



“Henry Miller and Gregory Conko have accurately and lucidly portrayed the current distortion in policymaking toward the new biotechnology. They describe how demagoguery by well-funded, well-organized opponents has capitalized on fears and uncertainties toward gene-spliced crops; how these attacks stifle thoughtful, deliberative policy-making; and how they are slowing the progress of a powerful new tool. Miller and Conko brilliantly expose the peril of allowing the precautionary principle to drive risk analysis and policymaking. Their thorough and articulate deconstruction of the precautionary principle should serve as a guide to developing regulatory policy, not only for biotechnology, but for any new idea or technology.”


U.S. Congressman Nick Smith


House Science Subcommittee on Research



“This volume simply eclipses anything else on the subject. Miller and Conko offer a masterful exposé of the flaws in current public policy towards biotechnology, a lucid discussion of the reasons for them, and innovative proposals for essential reforms.”


Michael H.Mellon,MD

Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics

University of California at San Diego School of Medicine



“Henry Miller and Gregory Conko have written a brilliant account of the way self-interest, bad science and excessive government regulation have profoundly compromised the potential of the new biotechnology. This book is a call to action to resist a pernicious political process that is currently denying enormous potential benefits to consumers all over the world.”


From the Foreword by

Norman E. Borlaug, PhD

Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture

Texas A&M University

Winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize






The Frankenfood Myth

How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution


ISBN: 0-275-97879-6


Available in bookstores beginning September 2004

And online at


Review copies are available to members of the news media

directly from Praeger Publishers, a part of the Greenwood Publishing Group:


James Lingle

Publicity and Advertising Manager

Praeger Publishers

203-226-3571, ext. 3379

[email protected]