GENTECH archive 8.96-97
RE: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F
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- Subject: RE: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F
- From: "Redick, Thomas" <Thomas_Redick@McKennaCuneo.com>
- Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:31:00 -0500
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Thanks -- I am missing less now. But I am still wondering if I am safe
buying organic -- does that mean that unlabelled GMOs are in the
organic chain of commerce? If so, how could this have happened given
the apparent vigilance?
To: Redick, Thomas
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Subject: RE: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 3:05PM
You ARE missing something. The biotech industry has made a big push for
past several years to allow genetically engineered foods to be labelled
"organic." A number of us have done a lot of politicking on this issue,
bar such a result. We got a favorable ruling from the National Organic
Standards Board, but the Secretary of Ag (Glickman) has still not
promulgated a rule forbidding g.e. foods to be called organic.
Also, the ability to label may be challenged by biotech industry as
implying a "substantial difference" where none exists (so it is
amounting to product disparagement.
This is how Monsanto got Vermont's law re: labelling of rBgH drug
So "voluntary segregation" might be impossible. The "organic" label is
protected by Federal and State law because your grocer has NO OTHER WAY
You sound very naive about your life support systems. Only informed
activism by some of us allows you this luxury.
Council for Responsible Genetics
> I already buy all my produce at an organic market which will presumably
>screen out GMO food for me as it does other risks -- why should we label
>products that my grocer will segregate for me? Perhaps this will make
>more foods off limits for a time, but the organic markets will find
>growers who are certified GE free. I am just curious at the attention
>and resources being devoted to legalistic approaches when simple
>consumer education and voluntary segregation that has protected me from
>pesticide residues for years. Am I missing something here? I am
>beginning to think that my donations to Greenpeace to be put to better
>use than tilting at genetic windmills.
>From: Jon Buckingham
>Subject: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F
>Date: Thursday, March 27, 1997 4:49AM
>I agree that one should be aware that there is often a "middle ground"
>between opposing statements, and I have personally found some
>contradictions such as the one you mention regarding reduced spraying
>as a result of using genetically engineered crops.
>But, I would like to point out the problems with some of your benefits
>> While I agree that Genetic engineering IS a new technology, quite
>> distinguishable from traditional breeding practices, I wish to comment
>> on the view that there are no benefits to be had from the technology for
>> the public, the environment or for consumers and that the only benefit
>> is to be enjoyed in terms of profit by the companies involved. It is a
>> view quite often expressed by posts to this list. But take for example
>> these projects:
>Beware. These benefits are often required because of the drawbacks of
>previous "technology improvements". e.g. monoculture farming is very
>susceptible to pests. Therefore it requires pesticides. Therefore now
>people are worried about pesticides, so we have another hi-tech
>solution: biotech food.
>The best solution to the *root causes* of these problems is often to
>go back to natural crop species and more traditional (organic) and
>diverse agricultural methods.
>> Comsumers in the UK have been quite impressed with the (clearly
>> labelled) "genetically modified" tomato paste. They have commented on
>> the superior taste of the product, are pleased that it costs less, and
>> the fact that in now occupies 17% of the paste market is testimony to
>I'd love to know your source for this.
>As a UK resident,
> 1. I have never seen such labelling on any products (i.e. they are
> not widely available).
> 2. I have never met anyone who has seen such labelling (and I talk
> to a lot of folks about this topic)
> 3. UK consumers (a generalisation coming up here) are notoriously
> bad at considering taste as an important buying factor. Just
> look at the tasteless array of intensively produced bread,
> chicken, pork, beef, vegetables, apples etc etc that is
> predominantly bought buy us Brits. The two criteria used by
> consumers here are price and appearance, *not* taste or
>> "Bt cotton" in Australia has led to decreased spraying of cotton fields
>> with chemical pesticides (from between 6 and 16 spray runs a season down
>> to 2) - surely an environmental benefit. (I spoke to a farmer recently
>> who said he was very pleased with this aspect and would use the cotton
>> again next season despite that it offers no cost savings to him -
>> though Monsanto IS making a profit !!). Similiarly, potatoes
>> genetically engineered to be resistant to viral attack are decreasing
>> the need for chemical spraying proviously used to control aphids which
>> transmit the virus.
>But as previously posted by many sources here, this is short term (a
>Resistance to Bt will develop, and then pesticides will have to be
>used in even greater quantites, or another genetically engineered crop
>will be created, providing and ever growing market for biotech
>companies. Classic vicious circle.
>The root cause is monoculture farming on a huge scale.
>Root cause fix: organic farming and mixed crops, crop rotation etc.
>> Various projects worldwide aimed at changing oil compositions in canola
>> and other common vegetable oil providers to increase the amounts of
>> unsaturated fats - a health benefit to those eating the product.
>Oh dear! This is the same theme as the great American dream of a
>Root cause of obesity, much heart disease etc: consuming more calories
>than you use.
>Root cause fix: eat less or do more excercise!
> There are also plenty of natural foods around that are
> low in saturated fats. Olive oil for starters. You
> also don't have to eat huge amounts of fat at all!
> Meat & dairy intensive diets of many westerners is
> another source of saturated fat.
> Eat more naturally farmed fruit and veg for goodness
>> Various projects aimed at increasing the nutritional value of various
>> foods or increasing the levels of natural anti-cancer agents produced in
>> some fruits. I'm think comsumerrs will be interested in the benefits of
>> such products.
>Again, western diets and lifestyles are a major cause of diet.
>Green veg such as brocolli (and many others) that naturally occur will
>give you this protection already.
>Eat natural fruit - lets demand a wider variety of fruit and veg in
>our supermarkets rather than meekly accepting a few "one meets all"
>genetically derived plasticised versions that never rot no matter how
>long they've languished in transit or on a shop shelf.
>There's a wealth of existing natural diversity of fruit and veg out
>there that will meet our needs far better than any lab will.
>We just don't need "biotech fixes" for these problems.
>It's all classic marketing to generate markets out of nowhere.
>> While Big Companies ARE making Big Money with genetic engineering, let's
>> face it, the technology wouldn't go ahead if there wasn't a buck to be
>> made. And there ARE benefits to be found in the new technology - for
>> the general good (even if that is not what motivates the Big Companies).
>> It is unfortunate that the first genetically engineered organism
>> generally released (in the US) is the RoundUp ready soybeans - the
>> benefits to consumers, to the environment (while expoused by Monsanto)
>> ARE,in this case, DUBIOUS. But let's not tar all genetic engineering
>> with the same brush. It's a technology that can be used for a wide
>> variety of purposes. Each needs to be assessed individually before it
>> is condemed or accepted. Some are "beneficial", others will not benefit
>> society and only make a quick buck for those with plenty already. It's
>> a big ask, but thought, understanding and individual assessment is
>I fundamentally disagree when it comes to food (food for humans *and*
>All these benefits exist in natural food already.
>And there are many, many *major* risks with biotech stuff which have
>documented by others on this reflector.
> Jon Buckingham
> Northavon Friends of the Earth
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