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by bobby jennings
engineering is the largest food experiment in
the history of the world - and this experiment
is being conducted with humans, not rats. It
is estimated that 60-70% of the foods in
grocery stores contain genetically engineered
(GE) components. The FDA estimates that 150
new genetically engineered foods will be
approved for sale within the next few years.
engineered foods contain substances that have
never been a part of the human food supply -
they are manmade alterations to what nature
has intended for consumption. They are not
subjected to rigorous pre-market safety
testing. And THEY ARE NOT LABELED. Thus, our
right of choice is being taken from us. If you
do not wish to consume the modified genes, you
find yourself in a difficult position - unless
you grow all your food from certified non GM
seeds, then you have been eating genetically
genetic engineering safe for you and your
family? Is it safe for the environment? What
effects does it have on the future of mankind?
No long-term studies have been done. No one
can answer these questions.
is an ongoing debate about genetically
engineered foods, cloning, etc. While it is
not our intent here to vouch for one of the
other, our stand is that the public has a
right to know and the right to make a choice.
The fact that genetically engineered foods
have been part of our diet without our
knowledge is alarming. Whether one agrees with
the process or not, one should at least be
notified that the food contains genetic
changes so that a choice can be made. We have
been eating genetically engineered corn and
soybeans, and drinking BHT in our milk. These
three products form a base for most
manufactured foods. A look at ingredients in
most prepared foods will reveal either corn,
soybeans, or milk.
in the U.S., we are consuming genetically
engineered food without our knowledge, in
London, regulations requiring all restaurants
to identify dishes containing genetically
modified ingredients came into force on
Sunday, September 19th, 1999.
food manufacturers are becoming aware of the
consumer demand for non-genetically altered
foods. Nissin Food Products announced on
September 10th that it intends to stop using
genetically engineered US-grown soybeans. In
so doing, it is joining the likes of Kirin
Brewery in shunning genetic technology out of
respect for consumer fears.
Maseca, Mexico's leading producer of corn
flour, recently announced it will no longer
purchase any genetically modified corn. Corn
flour is made into tortillas, a Mexican
staple. Mexico buys $500 million of U.S. corn
each year, so the Grupo Maseca announcement
will have great repercussions with Midwestern
corn farmers who planted Monsanto's
genetically modified seeds.
month, Australian food manufacturers including
the Sanitarium Health Food Company,
Cadbury-Schweppes, Master Foods Australia,
Mars Confectionery of Australia, Wyeth
Australia and Heinz Watties Australasia
confirmed that they either had changed to
GM-free sources or were in the process of
doing so. While it is great news to see that
these major corporations are shunning GM
foods, the chilling revelation is that all
these corporations have been using GM foods
without our knowledge -- thus we have been
consuming these foods without knowledge or
has outlawed the use of BHT in milk, yet the
US, no doubt due to monetary pressure exerted
by PAC groups, continues to allow BHT in milk.
No doubt, the presence of genetically
engineered foods in our stores is due to the
same source - corporations with big bucks buying
their way into our government.
Tokyo, Jusco Co Ltd will become the first
major Japanese supermarket operator to label
food products based on the genetic origin of
the crops used. Jusco, which operates over 300
stores nationwide, has decided to start labeling
genetically-modified (GM) food before the
Japanese government's label requirements are
implemented from 2001, because of requests
from consumers, a company spokesman said.
"It is the responsibility of a retail
company to disclose information that consumers
want to know," he said.
trading house Itochu Corp said yesterday it
plans to import 150,000-200,000 tons of
non-genetically modified (GM) food soybeans
from the United States in the year beginning
with this harvest, to secure supplies for food
makers who want to avoid using GM crops.
"Most of our customers say they want to
use non-GM food soybeans," a Itochu
Australia, the government has taken a stand.
CSIRO - the Federal Government's agricultural
research and development body - announced it
would not market any GM grain crops for at
least five years...
the U.S., Mothers for Natural Law, the
National Coordinators for the Consumer Right
to Know is sponsoring a One Million Signature
Campaign. They have initiated a petition to
secure the mandatory labeling of all
Genetically Engineered Foods to be submitted
to the President of the United States,
Congress, USDA and FDA.
petition states "New substances are being
introduced into our foods via a technology
called genetic engineering. A growing number
of scientists and physicians are voicing
concern over possible health and environmental
risks from these foods. Genetically engineered
foods are currently being produced and sold in
the U.S. without proper labeling or safety
testing. This petition upholds the right of
consumers to make informed choices about the
foods they eat and feed their families."
To add your name to the petition go to http://www.safe-food.org/-campaign/petition.html
consumers, we have a great power and
responsibility. We can affect what food manufacturers
are doing by our "vote" with our
buying dollars. However, when we don't know
what we are buying, then our vote becomes
extinct. Labeling for genetically modified
foods is a must, so that consumers can let
their preference be known. If genetically
labeled foods do not sell, manufacturers will
be forced (by diminishing income) to switch to
non genetically altered foods. We must demand
labeling so that we can then make our choices
and our voices heard.
more info on genetically engineered foods,
pros and cons, brand names, claims and facts,
go to http://www.safe-food.org
jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf
Publications and webmaster of InnerSelf.com. Originally a Democrat for
many years, he moved to the Republican party in the mid 1980's. He
now supports common sense initiatives from all parties, but is a registered
Green Party member. He is an ex-Army officer and retired small business owner. He was born,
raised, and educated in the "Old South" in Northern Florida.
More articles by this author.
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