GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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This meeting in Ottawa is critical to the entire world's food supply.
Regulations are being considered that would allow thousands of genetically
engineered (GE) products to flood the world market.  The biotech industry
is lobbying Codex to pass internationally binding legislation allowing
these experimental foods in every country, without labelling or extensive
testing, and mixed in with other foods.

What We Can Do:

Input from you and others in your country to your representatives at the
Codex meeting could be critical in creating a favorable outcome on this
issue. Please send them a letter, fax, or email stating your concerns, and
please organize for as many people in your country to send letters, as
well.

Finding your codex representative:

In Canada, concerns can be sent to the Head of the Canadian Delegatation:
Mr. Gerry Reasbeck, Director, Food Division, Food Inspection Directorate,
59 Camelot Court, Nepean, ON  K1A 0Y9  Ph: 952-8000/ Fax: 952-7387/ e-mail:
greasbeck@em.agr.ca@inet

In USA, concerns can be directed to Ms. Rhonda Bond and/or Mr. Patrick
Clerkin, Office of the U.S. Coordinator for the Codex Alimentarius, U.S.
Department of Agriculture
Room 311, West End Court, Washington , D.C., 20250-3700
Tel: 202-418-8841   Fax: 202-418-8865  e-mail: uscodex@aol.com
A copy of concerns can be sent to Mr. Thomas J. Billy, A/U.S. Coordinator
for the Codex Alimentarius, U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Room 331-E,
Administration,14th and Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C.
20250-3700  Tel: 202-770-7025  Fax:  202-690-4437.

For all other countries, you can simply look up the your Codex
representative on the website:

HTTP://WWW.FAO.ORG./WAICENT/NUTRITIO.HTM

Once on this website, choose the topic:  - About Codex Alimentarius

Under this topic, choose the subheading:  - List of Codex Contact Points
There you will find the name, address, phone, and fax number for your Codex
representatives.  If you call them, they can should be able to give you
their email address.

In your letter to your Codex representative, you can emphasize MANDATORY
LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS as the central concern.   The more
people that send comments, the better.

................................................

In addition, here are some other points that you may wish to also include
in your letter:

*Labeling of genetically engineered foods is primarily a safety issue.

*Inherent in the process of genetic engineering is the risk of altering the
genetics and cellular functioning of a food organism in unanticipated
ways.

*These unanticipated alterations can lead to alterations in the quality of
the food itself. Specifically, these alterations can result in genetically
engineered foods being allergenic, toxic, or reduced in nutritional value.

*Currently many nations do not even have laws governing testing the safety
of genetically engineered food. In those countries that do have such law,
the testing protocols specified are inadequate to detect all possible
allergens, toxins, and alterations in nutritional value that could be
caused by genetic engineering of foods.

*Although every genetically engineered food will not be grossly toxic,
allergenic, or reduced in nutritional value, some of them will, and because
of the loopholes in procedures for assessing the safety of genetically
engineered foods, there is the risk that some harmful genetically
engineered foods will reach the market undetected. Thus, at present there
is health risk associated with every genetically engineered food that cames
to market.

*There is another source of risk associated with these foods. Namely, that
testing procedures assess health impacts resulting from consuming a food
over a limited period of time. This means that there is residual risk due
to the possibility of longer term effects of the food.

*Given the existence of these loop-holes and residual uncertainties,
consumers should have the right to choose for themselves whether or not to
accept the risks associated with genetically engineered foods.

*Labeling of genetically engineered foods to specify the process (genetic
engineering) that was used in producing them will allow consumers to make
that choice.

*There is another reason that genetically engineered foods should be
labeled as such: This is a new technology, and people want to examine this
technology in their own way. This is their right as consumers. Consumers
simply have the right to choose for themselves whether or not, and to what
extent, they will make use of genetically engineered foods.

.................................................................

John B. Fagan, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Biology
Maharishi University of Management
(Maharishi International University 1971 to 1995)
1000 North Fourth Street
Fairfield, Iowa, 52557-1078
Phone(515) 472-8342
Fax (515) 472-5725
email jfagan@mum.edu