A Fine Criticism Of The FDA and G.M.

Accidental Hedonist has a post up examining the lawsuit brought by a consumer group against the FDA over Genetically Modified Foods. And the reason I’m posting this is because it contains the best criticism of the FDA’s handling of genetically modified foods I’ve ever heard:

The FDA should have very strict labeling and testing protocols for foods containing genetically modified crops because of allergies.

What a fine criticism! Of course, it stands to reason that, hypothetically speaking, tomatoes spliced with peanut genes should be well labeled and tested. And a quick look on Wikipedia shows that G.M. foods that induce allergies have well been created. Awesome!

Of course, after expressing a pragmatic, common sense opposition to the FDA’s current approach to G.M. foods, Kate over at A.H. then goes on to ruin my buzz by claiming that genetically modified foods could destroy the planet. Hey, just like technology if Skynet ever went sentient!

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Ultimately, I’m a pretty big believer in G.M. foods. I don’t believe it is possible to feed the hungry of the world without them. But I’m also, obviously, a very big believer in buying power. Americans have the luxury of discriminating not only what they will eat but what process was used to produce it. In that sense, if Americans are concerned with the dangers insinuated by G.M. foods and want them labeled, those foods should be put under greater scrutiny so we all can make an informed choice. Hyperbole about the destruction of virgin Gaia aside, I think that’s the most compelling argument in favor of the FDA dropping the ball on G.M. foods: they are robbing the American populace of information they want to have to grocery shop.

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Consumer group sues FDA over biotech foods [Accidental Hedonist]

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  1. AcidReign says:

    …..I love the engineered tomatoes that will survive for a week on the kitchen counter and still taste fresh! Some independent research (is there really such a thing?) would be nice, but until then, I’m buying what looks, smells, and tastes fresh. I’ve seen a lot of wilt to go along with the high prices in the organic section…

  2. Lars says:

    No offense, but your assumption that genetic engineering can solve the world’s hunger is just as naive as some of the arguments against G.M. foods. If you’d like some good reasons on why G.M. foods are ultimately a bad thing, here are some:

    1. Increased prevelance of mono-culture crops. Let’s say a new rice crop from Monsanto is killer and grows under all kinds of conditions making feeding the poor and corpulent alike very cheap and easy. The crop is widely adopted globally. Everyone rejoices until a fungus begins wiping out said crop. G.M. crops are engineered to tolerate pestitides or other predictable situations. They are unlikely to withstand unforseen plant viruses or fungi. Look no further than dutch elm disease to see why growing one kind of crop is bad. Monoculture already happens to be sure, but a successful G.M. crop could greatly increase the problem. This is one area where organic and heirloom farmers clearly win.

    2. Terminator seeds. Monstanto wishes to keep a steady supply of customers, so they’re also engineering their crops to produce sterile seeds. I’m thinking that Monsanto isn’t going to cut third world farmers a better rate than most Pharma companies cut to third world folks. Monsanto is doing this to profit, not to feed the world’s hungry. Their motives have to be held with deep suspicision. It’s deeply troubling too that Monsanto would attempt to produce plants that cannot reproduce themselves. This would dramatically curtail traditional methods of agriculture and even of old fashioned domestication of agricultural crops.

    3. Protection of local farmers. Several cases have arrisen where corporate entitites have sued farmers not using G.M. agriculture, but whose crops become contaminated with them one way or another. The corporate entities are currently protected by draconian I.P. laws akin to DRM and anti-piracy laws that old media enjoy. Worse yet, the federal government it trying to reign in state lawas that would procect farmers who accidently start growing G.M. food for reasons beyond their control.

    While allergy concerns are a fine reason to oppose G.M. foods, I think G.M. foods pose other challenges besides needing an epi pen at hand at all times.

  3. marvinlzinn says:

    I 1000 percent agree with Lars comments about G.M. food.

    I spent 40 years study of how to stay alive by refusing modified anything (including some doctor prescriptions). This eleminated ALL disease I had as a child, and allowed me two years ago to return to life from an injury when everyone thought I would die, and to excellent health when all doctors expected I would be disabled.

    NO ONE has a right to modify any food I can obtain without warning. Many countries in the world are smart enough to refuse a lot of United States products, especially food and Pharma Drugs.