To all, first off I want to clarify that my Haberano Salsa reply including
this one is not directed at any body in particular. I want to issue a
wakeup call that measured responses to a concerted PR blitz will get us
nowhere. Reasoned arguments, even beautiful ones like below do not get
much traction in a sound bite world. People have to think so "Vit. A rice
cures blindness" sound bites even if it is not true, is what sticks.
What take did other have on the NPR's Science Friday segement on GE foods?
To me it seemed a very slick PR job especially the constant returning to
the "let's work together and select the best technology to help the poor"
story line. This is after admitting there is enough food in the world to
feed the hungury, but we are not going to feed them because it will cost
money. So we have to sell the poor our patented seed stock instead.
This is a power play. You poor countries want an ag loan? Well we know
best so you have to plant our high yield, patented seed or you don't get
the loan. You don't want to here herbicide? That is irresponsible so no
Think about the US government's push to have all farmers participate in
"Crop Insurance". How long after they get farmers use to crop insurance
before they start applying conditions? If you don't plant XYZ's
"technology package, you are "bad risk" and don't get crop insurance or
have to pay more. Can't happen here? Do bears go in the woods? Rant mode
off, Mike Miller
>(just a bit long)
>Here's a selection from the transcript from the Avery - Benbrook
>Debate http://www.biotech-info.net/Alexcmb.html &
>http://www.biotech-info.net/Alexcmb.pdf with an example of what I
>consider to be a successfully non-confrontational manner:
>The host didn't mention that fellow sanet member Chuck is a past head
>of the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture.
>CB> Charles Benbrook: ... the FDA has set in place a mechanism to
>CB> label how food is preserved. I think the same will happen with
>CB> biotechnology and GMO foods. There will be an agreed upon set of
>CB> principles and criteria that will govern how to communicate to
>CB> consumers about these new and novel foods, some of which may pose
>CB> some risks to certain categories of consumers.
>AA> Alex Avery: What are the risks here? Right now we've got Europeans
>AA> who are completely anti-biotech. We've got many nations completely
>AA> anti-biotech, banning this technology without a single realistic
>AA> risk associated with it. We've not found a single problem with
>AA> using these technologies. We've got activists who are fueling the
>AA> fear of these foods . . .
>CB> Charles Benbrook: Well Alex, if you think there is not a single
>CB> problem with these foods, then you need to start spending a little
>CB> time reading the scientific literature. There is an abundance of
>CB> research that shows problems that are being discovered with
>CB> genetically transformed foods. Tomato plants, cotton plants, sheep
>CB> - all organisms have very elaborate defense mechanisms against the
>CB> incorporation of foreign DNA, viruses, bacteria and microorganisms
>CB> that aren't part of the organisms genome. That's why species are
>CB> able to maintain their genetic integrity.
>AA> Alex Avery: No. they are not.
>CB> Charles Benbrook: Alex, Alex. I am on, so just let me finish.
>AA> Alex Avery: Well, I'm not going to let you mis-characterize it
>The blatant truth. But Chuck remains unfazed and under control, then
>CB> Charles Benbrook: The process of genetic transformation in
>CB> creating a GMO food involves overcoming these natural defenses.
>CB> What the recent science is showing, is that some of these genetic
>CB> modifications are not as stable over time as once thought. And
>CB> they are causing some unexpected silencing of certain genes. They
>CB> are turning on other genes, and there are really unusual patterns
>CB> of protein formation, and the stimulation of certain biosynthetic
>CB> pathways, etc that can lead to the production of novel allergens
>CB> or toxins, or influence the development of organisms. We are just
>CB> beginning to understand how organisms counter-act genetic
>CB> modification. The new science is saying that it is not as simple
>CB> as we once thought. Sometimes it could lead to adverse safety
>AA> Alex Avery: And that's why we have certain safety regulations of
>AA> the genetically modified crops. That's why we have government
>AA> oversight and safety testing. GMO foods are the most safety tested
>AA> foods in human history. I'm still asking, Chuck, what are the
>AA> risks that we have identified? What is the danger that justifies
>AA> the banning of these technologies in so many countries. Can you
>AA> name one Chuck?
>CB> Charles Benbrook: There hasn't been a ban, but there is a
>CB> moratorium in Europe because the consensus of the scientific
>CB> community in Europe is that there are enough unresolved questions
>CB> about this technology that the work needs to be done before we
>CB> universally start to introduce GMO foods into the human diet. I
>CB> think that the big difference between Europe and the U.S. is the
>CB> level of scientific certainty required prior to approval. I think
>CB> that there is a recognition, even in the U.S., that there are some
>CB> legitimate questions about these technologies that we have not
>CB> explored enough. And some people are calling for a certain degree
>CB> of humility about such fundamental transformation in something as
>CB> basic as our diet.
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