Genetically engineered food

Modified? manipulated? what, why -- and why not

"The biotech industry rarely uses the phrase 'genetically engineered foods,' sticking with the more bland (and less controversial) phrase 'biotech foods.' In Europe, genetically engineered foods are more commonly referred to as genetically modified foods, genetically altered foods or GMOs (short for genetically modified organisms). But scientists generally agree that 'genetically engineered' more accurately represents the process than 'genetically modified.'"

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Americans’ knowledge of genetically engineered foods remains low and their opinions about its safety are just as divided as they were two years ago, according to a new survey released last month by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology.

Americans are clearly not aware of the extent genetically engineered foods have invaded the U.S. food supply. Only 24 percent of Americans believe they have eaten genetically engineered foods, while 58 percent say they have not. In fact, nearly all Americans have eaten genetically engineered foods, since 70 to 75 percent of all processed foods contain soy or corn that has been genetically engineered.

Further, Americans appear to be unaware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not safety testing genetically engineered foods. According to the Pew Initiative survey, 89 percent of Americans agree with this statement: “Companies should be required to submit safety data to the Food and Drug Administration for review, and no genetically modified food product should be allowed on the market until the FDA determines it is safe.”

In reality, under the current regulations, biotech companies are not even required to notify the FDA they are bringing a new product to market. The very companies with the financial interest in the products are the ones determining the safety. Not only is the FDA not safety-testing these products, the agency has determined it doesn’t even need to be notified that a new genetically engineered food is going to be consumed by millions of people.

Allergic reactions and other possible health risks "By now," says the (US-American) Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, "millions of acres of genetically engineered crops have been planted, and nearly two-thirds of the products on our supermarket shelves contain GE ingredients. But GE foods remain poorly studied; scientists simply can't say with any authority that they are absolutely safe for human consumption. In fact, many questions persist..."

Are Biotechnology and GE foods the answer to world hunger? The agribusiness and biotech companies would make us think so. Another view is in the excellent report from 1999, "Biotechnology = Hunger". It says: ..."The biotechnology industry claims it holds the answer to world hunger: high technology to increase production. But according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this badly misstates the problem. There is no shortage of food in the world. Per capita food production has never been higher. The real problem is this: In a globalized economy, the poorest countries of the world are exporting their food to the already well-fed countries..."
Read full report here.

Moms Battle Genetic Engineering
A group of New Zealand mothers led by a former pop star have launched a provocative billboard campaign to protest their government's decision to allow agricultural genetic engineering.

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