In the discussion thread: Anti-GM protesters kept from tearing up wheat crop by police [View all]
Response to enki23 (Reply #4)
Mon May 28, 2012, 08:14 AM
proverbialwisdom (1,583 posts)
17. Oh, please, don't mislead.
Last edited Mon May 28, 2012, 08:17 AM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle
By KURT EICHENWALD, GINA KOLATA and MELODY PETERSEN
Published: January 25, 2001
The following article was reported by Kurt Eichenwald, Gina Kolata and Melody Petersen and was written by Mr. Eichenwald
In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House to make an unusual pitch.
Although the Reagan administration had been championing deregulation across multiple industries, Monsanto had a different idea: the company wanted its new technology, genetically modified food, to be governed by rules issued in Washington — and wanted the White House to champion the idea.
"There were no products at the time," Leonard Guarraia, a former Monsanto executive who attended the Bush meeting, recalled in a recent interview. "But we bugged him for regulation. We told him that we have to be regulated."
Government guidelines, the executives reasoned, would reassure a public that was growing skittish about the safety of this radical new science. Without such controls, they feared, consumers might become so wary they could doom the multibillion-dollar gamble that the industry was taking in its efforts to redesign plants using genes from other organisms — including other species.
In the weeks and months that followed, the White House complied, working behind the scenes to help Monsanto — long a political power with deep connections in Washington — get the regulations that it wanted.
It was an outcome that would be repeated, again and again, through three administrations. What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto — and, by extension, the biotechnology industry — got. If the company's strategy demanded regulations, rules favored by the industry were adopted. And when the company abruptly decided that it needed to throw off the regulations and speed its foods to market, the White House quickly ushered through an unusually generous policy of self-policing.
Even longtime Washington hands said that the control this nascent industry exerted over its own regulatory destiny — through the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agriculture Department and ultimately the Food and Drug Administration — was astonishing.
"In this area, the U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do," said Dr. Henry Miller, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, who was responsible for biotechnology issues at the Food and Drug Administration from 1979 to 1994.
Spilling the Beans, October 2007
The FDA’s “non-regulation” of GM foods
Genetically modified crops are the result of a technology developed in the 1970s that allow genes from one species to be forced into the DNA of unrelated species. The inserted genes produce proteins that confer traits in the new plant, such as herbicide tolerance or pesticide production. The process of creating the GM crop can produce all sorts of side effects, and the plants contain proteins that have never before been in the food supply. In the US, new types of food substances are normally classified as food additives, which must undergo extensive testing, including long-term animal feeding studies. If approved, the label of food products containing the additive must list it as an ingredient.
There is an exception, however, for substances that are deemed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). GRAS status allows a product to be commercialized without any additional testing. According to US law, to be considered GRAS the substance must be the subject of a substantial amount of peer-reviewed published studies (or equivalent) and there must be overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that the product is safe. GM foods had neither. Nonetheless, in a precedent-setting move that some experts contend was illegal, in 1992 the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS as long as their producers say they are. Thus, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations or labels whatsoever. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency.
Such a lenient approach to GM crops was largely the result of Monsanto’s legendary influence over the US government. According to the New York Times, “What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto and, by extension, the biotechnology industry got. . . . When the company abruptly decided that it needed to throw off the regulations and speed its foods to market, the White House quickly ushered through an unusually generous policy of self-policing.” According to Dr. Henry Miller, who had a leading role in biotechnology issues at the FDA from 1979 to 1994, “In this area, the U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do.”
Following Monsanto’s lead, in 1992 the Council on Competitiveness chaired by Vice President Dan Quayle identified GM crops as an industry that could increase US exports. On May 26, Quayle announced “reforms” to “speed up and simplify the process of bringing” GM products to market without “being hampered by unnecessary regulation.” Three days later, the FDA policy on non-regulation was unveiled.
•Washington Post – Immune Systems Increasingly on the Attack
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
...First, asthma cases shot up, along with hay fever and other common allergic reactions, such as eczema. Then, pediatricians started seeing more children with food allergies. Now, experts are increasingly convinced that a suspected jump in lupus, multiple sclerosis and other afflictions caused by misfiring immune systems is real.
•Los Angeles Times – 4% of Children have Food Allergies
November 17, 2009
...The number of children who have food allergies is not only increasing, it now encompasses 4% of all kids in the United States, according to an analysis of four large, national surveys published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The study -- the first to make a broad estimate about the prevalence of food allergies among U.S. children -- supports previous studies suggesting that allergy rates are rising rapidly, for reasons that are unclear.
•Los Angeles Times - Chronic health conditions increasing in children, study finds
February 17, 2010
...More than a quarter of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition, new research suggests, a significant increase from the rate seen in earlier decades and a statistic that looms large for the nation's efforts to subdue rising healthcare costs....
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Oh, please, don't mislead.
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