He spoke some about farmer fairness issues, choice of technology, etc, and
he outlined dimensions of what "corporate citizenship" demands of the
biotech industry, but nothing was really new or indicative of any change.
In the end it was very clear that he had two things to say of note --
TRADE matters and that's where they will continue to focus; and second,
labeling is complex, must be carefully considered, have to avoid confusing
the public, etc.
The Sec. made a few serious mistakes in the Q+A. The worst was in a
response to a question that asked something like "Should the USDA be
promoting hormone feed beef to consumers, is that really a good idea?"
Glickman started with the "...independent reviews...sound science says its
fine...but what I really believe is [U.S.] consumers have a choice...they
can choose to buy hormone treated beef or not...we need to give people a
choice...." Well, given that the Sec. did not support labelling, and that
U.S. beef is clearly not labeled re hormone use, the Sec. will only be able
to explain that the choice to "buy organic."
If anyone else heard any news in the speech, please alert us to it. The
text is now up on the USDA website under news releases. We will post it
along with some comments on Ag BioTech InfoNet within the hour.
Charles Benbrook 208-263-5236 (voice)
Benbrook Consulting Services 208-263-7342 (fax)
5085 Upper Pack River Road email@example.com [e-mail]
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 http://www.pmac.net
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