Tuesday 02 August 2011
Fearmongering over GM crops
In welcome news for the people of Kenya, a set of new laws will allow the production and importation of genetically modified (GM) crops. Kenyans have been suffering the effects of a long drought on food supplies, with price spikes and malnutrition becoming frequent problems due to grain deficits.
Spurred by similar difficulties, three other African countries — South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso — have set a precedent for the import and export of GM crops, which can be hardier than conventional ones and, in some instances, may provide greater nutrition. Yet anti-biotech activists who fear gene manipulation are boisterously opposing the new laws. These activists — many of whom favor organic farming — cite concerns typical of those in opposition to GM crops: development of crop mutations and allergic reactions in humans.
ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross can only shake his head, noting that none of these concerns has ever become a reality over the course of the sixteen years we've benefited from biotech crops. “So pervasive is the superstition about GM crops that these lobbyists would rather let their people starve,” he says. “They can’t be blamed, however, as they take their cue from the anti-technology NGOs in the EU — especially Greenpeace — who call GM crops ‘frankenfood’ and have, unfortunately, succeeded in scaring consumers and impressionable regulators.”
Meanwhile, a commission of the world’s food safety regulatory agencies has approved guidance that will allow countries to label GM foods without infringing upon international free trade laws. The summit of regulatory agencies, known as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, says that the new guidance isn’t mandatory but that it “recognizes that GM labeling is justified as a tool for post market monitoring.”
Dr. Ross notes that such labeling may seem like a good thing, but it’s not...
Source: newsroom - farmingnewsdaily.co.uk
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