Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another anti GMO news article

CA county Bt ban backlash [click to link]
by: Daisy Nguyen, Associated Press

Los Angeles - Bans on genetically engineered crops and animals in three California counties have triggered a national backlash.

Since late last year, 14 states have passed bills that bar towns, cities and counties from regulating genetically engineered crops - a direct reaction to the California counties' first-in-the-nation bans on growing such plants.

Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, said the debate over genetically engineered food is occurring in states, counties and cities because there is a lack of federal oversight on the issue.

"The federal government hasn't sufficiently addressed the (genetically engineered) food issue, and their negligence has really prompted local responses," Mendelson said.

An interesting claim, and one which is so oft repeated that it starts to gain a momentum of it's own. But look further in the article to see the following:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has argued that the approved crops [soy, corn, papaya] are substantially equivalent to the naturally grown varieties and don't need further regulation.

This I think is more to the point - especially in light of the fact that there are 4 government bodies which have oversight of such GMO food items:

  • The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates the field testing of genetically engineered plants and certain microorganisms.
  • The Department of Health and Human Service’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs the safety and labeling of drugs and the nation’s food and feed supply, excluding meat and poultry.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures the safety and safe use of pesticidal and herbicidal substances in the environment and for certain industrial uses of microbes in the environment.
  • The Department of Health and Human Service’s National Institutes of Health oversees guidelines for the laboratory use of genetically engineered organisms. They are generally voluntary, but are mandatory for any research conducted under federal grants. These are widely followed by academic and industrial scientists around the world.

(from Ohio State U., Biotech FAQ page)

And apparently the US American Medical Association (AMA) also has signed off on GMO technology (in general) as safe…so lets make that 4 agencies with oversight, and another associated body which have given their nod of approval.

A reasonable person may doubt such guidelines when one or perhaps two agencies certify and/or endorse them…but 4 to 5 agencies?
I don’t think that’s being reasonable anymore…I think it’s more along the lines of obstinate and paranoid…neither of which appeal to this reasonable person.

What exactly would be sufficient to address the GMO food issue in the eyes of these enviro-fundamentalists? A dozen different agencies? Two dozen? Seven dozen different agencies?

Something tells me that they would never be satisfied - hence the initiative to ban everything GMO...

A prudent measure would have allowed for individual applications for the use of GM organisms within the county, with a 2-year waiting period and evaluation process before they could be deployed, if accepted at all. But to ban everything?...FOR 10 YEARS?


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