If this story by Bruce Robinson — “The Audacity of Genetically Modified Foods” — doesn’t scare you, then maybe you’ve already been Super Sized:
Does it bother you that we consumers are largely unaware that 70 percent to 80 percent of the processed foods we buy contain [genetically modified] ingredients? We are “largely unaware” because these foods are not labeled — even though 90 percent of Americans want them labeled and think that we have the right to know what is in our food. The biotech industry fights labeling viciously because they know that, if GM foods were labeled, many would refuse to buy them as is the case in Europe. It`s not financial considerations that leave us with no choice; it`s our lack of awareness that allows them to take advantage of us. How many realize that Kraft Mac & Cheese is non-GM in Europe but does contain GM ingredients in the United States?
Our regulatory bodies and government are staffed with pro-GM people, a veritable revolving door. Michael Taylor, a Monsanto lawyer, moved from Monsanto to the Food and Drug Administration where he wrote the rules that were used to justify the release of Monsanto`s bovine growth hormone RBGH. He then returned to Monsanto as vice president. He currently is the FDA deputy commissioner for foods — not the best place for a person with such apparent bias. And Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, previously general counsel for Monsanto, supported a ruling that GM alfalfa could be released. He does not recuse himself in cases like this involving conflict of interest.
There are minimal requirements for independent testing of GM crops and foods. Testing is left to the biotech companies who then choose which tests to submit to our regulatory bodies. This results from the gift of “substantial equivalence” that says we don`t need to do thorough testing because GM crops are substantially equivalent to regular crops. But how can we know they are substantially equivalent if we don`t thoroughly test them? Who do our regulatory bodies represent? Aren’t they in place to protect our health? Shouldn’t they be doing or overseeing the testing in our interest?
There is significant correlation between the increase in incidence of serious health problems and the introduction of various GM crops into our foods. Check out Robyn O`Brien`s “The Unhealthy Truth.” Why would the incidence of peanut allergies begin increasing 20 percent yearly just after GM soy came into widespread use in the United States in 1996? Why would the incidence of soy allergies increase by 50 percent in 1998, the year GM soy was introduced in the United Kingdom? Correlation is not the same as cause and effect but determining cause is almost impossible when foods are not labeled.
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