Is your food stash genetically altered? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In a newspaper article read earlier it was remarked that genetically altered foods have been in use--quietly--in the US for some time. There are lots of useful links to earlier BBC reports on the same subject at the site.

From the BBC (London) Saturday, February 13, 1999 Published at 11:12 GMT


Retailers warn over genetic food

Businesses want government to allay fears over GM food

Some of Britain's biggest retailers have warned that consumer confidence in genetically modified food could be shattered unless the government makes a clear and unequivocal statement that it is safe to eat.

Retail representatives have written to Agriculture Secretary Nick Brown asking him to "put consumers' minds at rest" with a clear statement about genetically modified (GM) food.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says shops could lose billions of pounds if consumers lose confidence - and the Federation of Small Businesses says continued indecision by the government could end in bankruptcy for thousands of companies.

The debate about the wisdom of using GM foods continues to intensify with the opposition Conservative Party Leader William Hague adding his voice to the concerns already raised.

Mr Hague told the BBC while not enough was known about the issue the reasonable position was to call a three year halt to the production of GM crops.

"The release of genetically modified crops should be put on hold until we know a lot more about it, " he said.

"The fact that scientists tell us differing views about it, the fact that some of them are very alarmed about it should worry us."

However Mr Hague stressed that he was not calling for a complete ban on the production of genetically modified crops, rather for much more rigorous research.

But Professor Ray Baker of the Science Council which advises the government on GM projects said it was very unfortunate that scientists involved in the current debate were confusing the picture for the public.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that the food which is on the market at the moment - not grown in this country - is absolutely safe for our consumption."

He said Dr Arpad Pusztai, the scientist at the centre of the current controversy had been repeatedly pressed to produce more results to validate his work, but these results had not appeared. No-one was dismissing his work as nonsense, but the tests involved needed to be repeated.

In their letter to the Agriculture Secretary the deputy director of the British Retail Consortium accused the government of dragging its feet.

Elizabeth Phillips wrote: "We urge your department to put consumers' minds at rest and make a statement on the safety of those GM foods and ingredients approved by government".

The BRC which represents around 90% of British retailers warns that a large chunk of the #53bn spent each year on food could disappear unless the government acts.

The warning follows the public statement from 20 scientists from 13 different countries who backed a disgraced colleague who said that rats that had been fed genetically-modified potatoes suffered health damage.

They called for a moratorium on the use of GM foods.

But the government has ruled this out despite calls from consumer, environmental and food pressure groups, as well as opposition politicians.

Cut and pasted by

-- Old Git (, February 13, 1999


Why would I care? This is just superstition. Boogey men in the shadows - God is gonna get ya for that - get real.

-- Paul Davis (, February 13, 1999.


If you were more knowledgeable about this subject, you probably wouldn't say such silly things.

Genetically altered foods can be alright, if it's done with safety in mind, and respect for the public who eat it. It's another story if it's done with the idea of making more money, and screw the public. If they don't care, or don't want to know what the possible side- effects of a change are, I have a problem with that.

It can also be a potentially harmful technology. I recall reading that certain fruits were being modified with genes from animals. One mod was to make the fruit more resistant to freezing (got the genes from some fish that made a natural "antifreeze compound". Another I read about used the genes from a pig, as I recall. When the technology is used to create something that doesn't exist in nature, I have a problem with that. They have NO idea what it'll do to us; we're being experimented on.

I would really like to see it mandatory that foods that have been altered be labelled as such, to include the nature of the alteration. I would also like to see the processes used to prepare/handle it (irradiation, etc).

One way to reduce (but perhaps not eliminate) the percieved risk from genetically-altered foods is to eat organic foods. So far, altered foods are not allowed to be called "organic". The FDA did try to stipulate what organic meant; this included foods grown in soil that had sewage dumped in it, genetically altered foods, and some other unsavory things.

Hope this helped.

-- Bill (, February 13, 1999.

Sigh. I want to live in Lalah Land like Paul does. Evidently there are no bad guys and bad things allowed. I can dig it.


-- realist (, February 13, 1999.

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