Friday, May 25, 2012

"Dispute Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food"

From the New York Times:
"The F.D.A. has said that labeling is generally not necessary because the genetic modification does not materially change the food."
That's baloney. They don't do long-term testing on genetically-modified foods, so they have no idea if it materially changes the food. Why don't they do long-term testing?

"The F.D.A. has said that [long-term testing] is generally not necessary because the genetic modification does not materially change the food."
Yeah, that's pretty circular, but there you have it.

Labeling foods made with Genetically-Modified Organisms is a no-brainer for me. Eat it or don't eat it as you please.

In my state the attempt to have GMO food labeled flamed out recently:
"...Roy replied that “The labeling provision was eliminated from the bill due to fears that it opened the state up to a lawsuit. The attorneys for the leadership and Governor’s office felt that the Constitutional Rights of Monsanto gave them the power to successfully sue the state. Their main duty was to protect the welfare of the state.”

"Paik's partner in leader [sic] Right to Know CT, Tara Cook-Littman, stated, “The constitutional argument is absurd, and everyone knows it. As long as Connecticut law makers had a legitimate state interest that was reasonably related to the labeling of products produced from the process of genetic engineering, the GMO labeling bill would be considered constitutional by any court of law.”

"She added, “It appears that the biotech industry’s influence was in place all along, waiting for this tactic to be deployed at the last minute, with no time to argue before the vote.”..."
So they couldn't pass the law because Monsanto has a constitutional right to feed you GMO foods without your knowledge. People who rely on politicians to protect their interests are nuts.

I'm not against GMO foods, per se. I think that, in theory there could be benefits, as in the case of "golden rice". But there are risks to altering the genome of plants as well, as the creation of modern "wheat" demonstrates.

And the FDA is not to be trusted when they tell you it's safe. They haven't done the work that would allow them to assure us of that:
"The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which delineates FDA's regulatory authority for foods, defines food as articles used for food or drink for man and other animals. The Act, however, does not require pre-market clearance of food and thus, many genetically modified plants do not require formal pre-market review by the FDA as they are food...

"...The labeling of food derived from genetically modified plants is a matter of some controversy. FDA does not consider the method of production, including genetic modification, to be meaningful information which is required to be on product labeling unless the modification results in a significant material change in the food product.... However, the majority of the plants which have completed the [voluntary] consultation process have not triggered any labeling requirement."
One of the nice things about the Paleo diet is that you aren't eating the GMO stuff that's currently available on the market, which is mostly corn, soy, canola oil, and wheat. However, as they're introducing GMO tomatoes and salmon, this is starting to become annoying.

As I've detail before (here, here, and here), you are the long-term test for the FDA. They do short-term tests in the lab for gross toxicity (for drugs, not for food), but more subtle effects wait for consumers, and statisticians, to discover.

So if you want to be the guinea pig for this stuff, God bless you. Let me know how it turns out.