GENTECH archive 8.96-97
"I guess heresay isn't the best source..."
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- Subject: "I guess heresay isn't the best source..."
- From: "P.J.Mundy" <P.J.Mundy@geo.hull.ac.uk>
- Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 13:47:36 +0100 (BST)
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>On Wed, 26 Mar 1997 12:03:43 EST10 janelle kennard
>> 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 assume that by now you have seen my reply to the
> same question from Peter - it was in a conversation
> with the marketing manager or Zenaca - the company
> involved. I guess heresay isn't the best source -
> sorry I can't offer something more concrete.
> (copied from my reply to peter:)
> The regulatory affairs officer for Zeneca (the company
> producing the tomatoes) Nigel Poole quoted these figures
> to me recently when he was visiting Australia for a
> conference I was involved with. The cans in
> question (sold though Sainsbury's and Safeways, under
> these labels)are certainly labelled clearly (quite
> boldly) - I have a can near my computer!!
Indeed, I agree that 'heresay' is perhaps not the 'best
source' for such claims. I also think that one can
distinguish between the clearly labelled, informative,
strategically planned and comparatively public
introduction of genetically engineered tomato paste in
the UK by Safeway and Sainsbury's and the recent
unlabelled, untraceable, uninformative and unpopular
mass introduction of modified soya which might affect
a possible 60% of all processed foodstuffs.
I am not sure if you have been following the debate in
the UK concerning the labelling of foods derived from
genetic engineering. My research [forthcoming MSc] has
established that the majority of major UK
supermarkets, whilst not necessarily opposed to the
introduction of foods derived from genetic
engineering, have opposed the introduction of
genetically engineered soya on the grounds that the
failure of US producers to segregate supplies has
forced a situation where food producers and retailers
are unable to label foods in what they feel is an
adequate manner. Clearly this all but eliminates the
rights of the consumer to support/reject the
introduction of this new technology with all of its
In addition the 'public' debate concerning the
introduction of foods derived from genetic engineering
has exposed the significant failings of the current
democratic process concerning the introduction of
gentically engineered agricultural products to address
wider public concerns other than that of officially
prescribed environmental/food 'safety'. I find it
particularly revealing that the ONLY remaining
official 'democratic' means that citizens have of
influencing this debate [gm soya was introduced into
the EU in late 1996] is as consumers; they can 'vote
with their pockets', as proponents of biotechnology
and the 'free-market economy' proclaim.
How can they make an informed choice without fair and
unbiased official educational strategies? And how can
they 'vote with their pockets' this without enforced,
effective and consistent labelling policies?
As official consent has apparently already been given
for the introduction of foods derived from genetic
engineering it imperative that consumers, as
citizens, are given the democratic right to have the
ability to elect NOT to support this technology through
the purchasing of non-modified foods, if they so wish.
With the failure of governments thus far to ensure
this right, and the aggresive opposition of the
biotech industry to segregation and the labelling of
foods derived from genetic engineering, an
increasingly cynical view of this whole situation is
by no means difficult to justify....
Nor is the growing support for, and continued success
of, various NGO campaigns in Europe.