I don't know how much corn or soybeans--or whatever--can be
changed before the powers that be will decide they are "substantially
different" but I feel labeling for any gene taken from outside of a
species is critical because a gene (taken from an entirely different
organism) might make a protein to which I or someone else is allergic
while the plant and food product still looks like corn or soybeans. I
understand that someone actually choose a Brazil Nut gene to "improve"
another food crop (was it soybean?) and inadvertently choose the gene
that produces the primary allergen of Brazil nuts.
To put it another way, my body can detect (by allergic reaction)
levels of contaminants that analytical chemists are hard-pressed to
detect by other means. Meanwhile, if one happens to be allergic to
Brazil nuts, he or she can avoid Brazil Nuts. It should be that simple.
But now they have to worry about what Brazil Nut proteins may have been
inserted into what still looks like (and is labeled as) another food.
Corn and soybeans each must have thousands, if not millions, of
genes and many, many of them would have to be changed before the corn or
soybeans look "substantially different." But if the one gene that is
changed produces a protein that someone is allergic to, that person's
body will know even if the government, influenced by all the mega bucks
GE companies are pouring into lobbying, defines the new product and not
Thank goodness for the public outcry that forced Glickman to back
down on allowing GE foods to be considered "organic." That means I
still have one way of avoiding unlabeled GE foods...that is, unless some
organic farmer's crop is contaminated by a neighbor's GE crop...
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