ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

14 January 2003


Two items. The first article from the "Center for Consumer Freedom" contains a series of lies and absurdities that are breathtaking even by the standards of this U.S. food industry PR front.

Perhaps the most staggering, "some European nations are threatening hungry African nations by tying foreign aid to their rejection of these [GM] U.S. crops."

The country with the tied aid that's been doing all the threatening is, of course, the U.S. There is no evidence of any other country behaving in such a monstrous way.

The quotes contained in the piece plus the second article shows this kind of propaganda focusing in the mainstream US media, as Zoellick the US administration clearly intended they should.


US Attacks EU over Biotech Crops

Center for Consumer Freedom, January 13 2003

We‚ve been telling you for months about the threat of starvation in Zambia and other sub-Saharan African nations. One particularly underreported element of this story is that Zambia‚s dictator has rejected U.S. food aid because some of it happens to be genetically enhanced. And some European nations are threatening hungry African nations by tying foreign aid to their rejection of these U.S. crops. Now, thanks to U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick, the press is starting to pay attention.

Quoth Zoellick in The New York Times: „I find it immoral that people are not being able to be supplied food to live in Africa because people have invented dangers about biotechnology.‰ The Washington Post has Zoellick despairing over „the European anti-scientific view spreading to other parts of the world -- not letting Africans eat food you and I eat, and instead letting people starve.‰

Zoellick is in good company when he decries the immorality of the EU‚s behavior. The Vatican has come out in favor of using genetically enhanced food to feed the hungry.

In this war between the U.S. and the EU over biotech crops, one country has taken a more neutral stand. Not surprisingly, it‚s Switzerland. Field tests of genetically enhanced wheat have just been approved there and, true to form, Greenpeace is outraged.

Of course, Greenpeace isn‚t the only NGO pressuring the EU to maintain its hard-line position against biotech foods. The Consumer‚s Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is heading to Brussels and „calling on the US government to stop pressuring the EU and Africa to accept its GM corn.‰

It shouldn‚t be up to the U.S. trade representative to condemn Greenpeace and the Consumers Union for greasing the skids of African starvation. It should be up to all of us.

For shame.



Editorial, Rocky Mountain News, January 13, 2003

Maybe Europe is preparing to back off from a major mistake, but if it doesn't - if it continues to ban genetically modified foods processed in America - U.S. officials should start to do more than protest.

After all, stupidity can kill, and this European stupidity probably has already.

Fortunately, U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick said the other day that the United States may make an official case against the Europeans before the World Trade Organization. The New York Times quotes him as saying, "The European antiscientific policies are spreading to other corners of the world," the other parts he meant being some African nations. Because of the European example, Zimbabwe actually refused genetically modified foods from America last year even though it faced the prospect of widespread starvation.

The Times quotes European officials as responding that they were planning to scrap the policy this spring but that, hey, all this noise about it could get in the way and maybe there is an ulterior motive and, after all, you have to deal with public opinion.

In short, they said all the kinds of things people say when their position is utterly indefensible, as this one is. Biotechnology is safe. All kinds of safeguards are in place. Food produced through biotechnology has never caused as much as a stomachache, and Americans have been consuming genetically altered foods in large quantities for years.

Urging the president to take action, three members of the Senate Agriculture Committee wrote in December, "even the European Commission has officially acknowledged the safety of these products.

On August 23, 2002, the Commission itself stated: 'For the EU, there is no reason to believe that GM food is inherently unsafe to human health.' "

Zoellick said he finds it "immoral that people are not being able to be supplied food to live in Africa because people have invented dangers about biotechnology." He's right.

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