Monday 3 March 2014

Blog #4 Part 3 March 3, 2014
Further thoughts on genetic engineered (GE) food or genetically modified organism (GMOs). 

Food control system specifically referring to Canadian Federal Bill C -18 as reported by National Farmers Union.  As with the last blog in this month please refer to this link and Bill C-18.  Please take the time to read this and refer back to it.

Continuing on with the myths from the last blog…

These myths are important to rationalize who expects to gain what for money or common decency. 

Myth #6 One can always choose not to eat GE (genetically engineered) food. Fact: At present most foods on supermarket shelves containing GE ingredients are not labeled, therefore, there is no way of knowing whether we are eating them or not.  GE products are likely to be found in foods containing the following ingredients: soya flour and oil, (in many common foods such as breads, sausages etc.), lecithin (in chocolate and ice cream), canola oil corn extracts.

Myth #7 Farmers benefit from growing GE crops.  Facts:  Seeds of GE crops are more expensive than those of conventional crops.  Farmers in the UK and USA report that yields are generally no better, the crops are less reliable, and overall have not improved profitability. Non-GE crops now receive a premium from the buyer and as more countries reject GE foods the opportunities to sell GE produce overseas are diminishing.  Because of risks associated with GE crops, insurance companies in the USA and UK are now reluctant to insure them. Farmers growing GE crops have to sign binding contracts with the biotechnology producers.  These commit them to using only the herbicides produced by that company and prohibit them from the traditional practice of saving seed for the next season. Most third world farmers will not benefit.

Myth #8 GE crops will reduce use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. Fact: Crops engineered to be resistant to specific herbicides may encourage more liberal use of the herbicides.  This has been anticipated by one manufacturer who has applied to ANZFA (Australian New Zealand Food Authority) to have the allowable residue of the herbicide glythosate (Roundup) in foods sold in New Zealand increased by 200 times. In areas of the USA, where crops engineered to produce their own insecticide are grown, pesticide has not decreased.

Myth #9 There is no evidence that GE crops are harmful to the environment. Fact: Insects, birds and the wind carry genetically altered pollen and seeds into neighbouring fields and far beyond. Cross pollination occurs between GE crops and non-GE crops and their wild relatives. In this way resistant to weed killer, for example, might be transmitted to weeds making them more difficult to control.  There is evidence that crops engineered to produce their own insecticide can kill beneficial insects.

Myth #10 GE crops will save the world from famine. Fact: A major cause of famine is the unequal global distribution of food.  Food mountains exist in much of the western world and food is regularly dumped (wasted).  Poor people have limited ability to buy either GE or non-GE food.  There is no evidence that GE crops produce higher yields than conventional crops, or that GE products will be cheaper.

Myth #11 You can trust the scientists that GE is good for you and the world.  Fact: money for scientific research on GE here and overseas comes from either the biotechnology companies or the government.  Both are committed to the promises of biotechnology, this means even when scientists have concerns about the safety or the commercial application of the technology, it is often hard for them to risk their careers by being openly critical. When a respected scientist in the UK spoke up about his experimental results during damaging effects of feeding rats on a type of genetically engineered potato, he was immediately fired from his job.

Myth #12 You can’t stop progress.  Fact: No, of course we can’t, why would we want to. Progress implies change for the better, change for the worse is a regression.  We must be sure that GE products have benefits for the consumer and are safe if they are to be introduced into our foods.  We must not commit ourselves to the dubious technology that cannot be reversed.

Myth #13 There are more important things to worry about than GE foods.  Fact: Many scientists don’t think so, for example, Joseph Rotblat (of Pugwash, NS fame), British Physicist who won the 1995 Nobel Prize, says “My worry is that other advances in science may result in other means of mass destruction, may be more readily available even than nuclear weapons, genetic engineering is quite a possible area, because of these dreadful developments that are taking place there.”

The next blog with be discussing Golden Rice…

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and educate yourself further on GE foods. 

No comments:

Post a Comment