GENTECH archive 8.96-97
Fwd: "The Last Seder wihtout Genetically Engineered Foods"
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- Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 08:08:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: email@example.com (Beth Burrows)
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Date: 97-04-20 11:05:33 EDT
The Jewish holiday of Passover begins next week with Monday's seder (ritual
feast). A press release follows concerning a new publication and this
year's "Last Seder without Genetically Engineered Foods".
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE EDMONDS INSTITUTE
For Immediate Release Contact: Beth Burrows,
"The Last Seder Without Genetically Engineered Foods"
"Normally, Passover is a holiday about emancipation from slavery
but this year it marks the beginning of new bondage to new Pharaohs," says
Freida Morris, one of the authors of a Haggadah for the Last Seder Without
Genetically Engineered Foods. "The new Pharaohs are the biotechnology
companies that genetically engineer food and then refuse to label the
product as 'genetically engineered'. They are forcing us to eat the food
of their choice. That's bondage."
Morris and co-author Martine Benjamin note that the 1997 Jewish
celebration of Passover coincides with a week of worldwide protests about
genetically engineered foods: "From Austria to Ethiopia, from Japan to
Brazil, from Australia to Hungary, and all across the United States,
consumers are demonstrating against the appearance of unlabeled genetically
engineered foods in their market places. Some of the concern, especially
for people with rare allergies, stems from worry about the safety of
genetically engineered food. Some of it comes from ethical and
environmental objection to tampering with the 'natural' world. And some of
it comes in response to the affront of having meaningful foods choices
coopted by far-off corporations."
As a expression of their own objections to unlabeled genetically
engineered foods, Morris and Benjamin wrote a new book for this year's
The "original" Passover happened more than 3000 years ago, with the
exodus of Jewish slaves from the Egypt of Ramses II. Since that time, the
exodus has been celebrated with an eight-day Spring holiday that begins
with a seder, the ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover.
At the seder, the exodus story is retold, usually with the help of
a haggadah, a booklet containing the seder service. According to Morris,
"There's a long tradition in Judaism of rewriting the haggadah to address
social and civil injustices. We wrote our haggadah as a protest: we don't
think people should be kept in the dark about the contents of their food.
Consumer have a right to know. For some it's a matter of deep ethical
commitments. Without labeling, those people cannot make meaningful choices
about what they eat. The FDA doesn't require general labeling of
genetically engineered food and so people aren't warned, for example, that
their vegetables may contain DNA from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals,
or even other people. Maybe some people don't care but some of us do."
Among the highlights of the Morris-Benjamin haggadah is a rewrite
of the traditional song, "Dayenu". Excerpts from the song argue,
"Now Pharaoh's engineering dinner
Should we hail him as a winner?...
We admit it's quite a feat,
Putting genes in what we eat,...
What can we say?...
With no really honest label
For the food that's on our table...
What can we say?...
Lack of labels seems aggression
Steal our choice, we taste oppression...
We'll not be slaves again."
The new haggadah ends with the hope that "this not be the last
Passover in which we can choose to eat food that is not genetically
engineered. May this not be the last seder in which we can be sure of the
nature of what we eat." The booklet is available free to all those who
send a self-addressed, 55-cent stamped envelope to: The Edmonds Institute,
20319-92nd Avenue West, Edmonds, WA 98020.
From: The Edmonds Institute
20319-92nd Avenue West
The Edmonds Institute
20319-92nd Avenue West
Edmonds, Washington 98020