Saturday, February 16, 2013

GM produce ... is the tide turning in the right direction?

BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, has said it will stop seeking approval of its genetically modified (GM) potato varieties in the European Union. Could this be the first chink in the GM armour? Here’s a massive corporation, no longer prepared, even after 10 years of research, to run the gamut of getting its three new species of GM-potatoes approved in the EU. At the moment, the EU has pretty much put a moratorium on approvals of any new GM-crops.

Wise move indeed, as the European Food Safety Authority has discovered a hidden viral gene in 54 of 84 commercially approved genetically engineered crops—a finding that highlights deep flaws in the regulatory process back in the US. Plant pathologists say there is “significant potential for harm”, with the gene expression abnormalities resulting in a protein that functions as a toxin! Since the known targets of its activity are also found in human cells, this plant toxin could also have toxic effects in humans.
The report damns the US approval process, bluntly stating “Even now that EFSA’s own researchers have belatedly considered the risk issues, no one can say whether the public has been harmed, though harm appears a clear scientific possibility. Considered from the perspective of professional and scientific risk assessment, this situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure.”

Now Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company from Vermont have made a commitment to go completely GM-free - they say that after reviewing the research they believe it’s in the interest of consumers (and the profitability of their company) to stay away from these dubious products. 

Consumers need to take a stand! We must have mandatory labeling of GM-containing products, and those in authority must do a serious rethink about tinkering at this most fundamental level with the stuff of life that sustains us all. Clearly some responsible, far-sighted companies are already heading in the right direction. We need more of them!

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