ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

Date: 8 November 2000

Après le Bush -

If, as the US election results sink in, you are in need of cheer, consider this from the US website: also known as

"Why are the French Upset by U.S. Genetically Modified Food Imports?

17% Fear genetically modified foods lack that stinky je ne sais quoi.
22% Don't like the fact that French scientists didn't think of it first.
18% Concerned that new U.S. imports won't compare with Jerry Lewis.
19% Don't like capitalist bastards selling them stuff.
24% Not sure if GM produce will taste right with snails, pigeons and frog legs."

Guestchoice's current Site of the Day (since about June!) is 'Candy BarMath'

The Guestchoice commentary tells us:

" RelaxÖitís not a fat tax! Candy Bar Math taxes nothing more than a snack connoisseur's imagination. While at the site, try the Elvis Movie or Cocktail? quiz.  Nannies need not apply!"

Among it's nanny sites of the day ( that have been in the Guestchoice spotlight is Christain Aid's report on the potential impact of GE seeds on the Third World: "Selling Suicide".

The title you'll remember combines a reference to Terminator or "suicide" seeds and their potential impact on over a billion poor seed-saving farmers around the world, with the pattern of farmer
suicides in India which have resulted from poor farmers being induced into debt by the heavy-pressure sales tactics of the representatives of large multinational agrochemical corporations pushing their seeds and pesticides. Some of the truly horrendous problems and consequences of
such corporate dependence were graphically described at the recent seed conference in India.

Here's the take on Christian Aid's report:

Selling Suicide - Hell Bent on Terror Tactics

Critics of genetically engineered (GE) foods aren't shy about using exaggerated rhetoric.  But the far-left leaning Christian-Aid group flat-out lies about GE foods, calling their consumption 'suicide'. This is 'through-the-looking-glass' culture smog, where future-fearing radicals hide behind a religious facade to more easily malign farmers, scientists, food companies, and even PR people who deal with GE foods.

Food First's support for land redistribution to assist the world's hungry is similarly described as "Leninist"!

Among other sites spotlighted by

The Five-Year Freeze Campaign - Frosted Flakes

A 'who's who' of multinational organic marketers, food shops and activist groups, headed by all-organic Iceland Foodsí Malcolm Warner[!].... The campaign' s 'five year' rhetoric is a transparent ruse by Iceland to strip its competitors' grocery shelves.

Women Say No to GMOs - Organic Marketers Skirt Science

...Their spin? A feminist motif (led by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney!) and a raft of unscientific rhetoric. They demand without justification that no commercial GE crops be planted until 'consumer concerns have been satisfied.'

According to Guestchoice's genetic engineering section headed "Salem 2000", this is a "Breakthrough Technology Being Burned By Junk Science":

"Just as the 'witches' of old Salem were accused, tried and executed without solid evidence, some of todayís breakthrough scientific advances such as genetically engineered (GE) food  are being shunned by an increasingly frightened public.

Using half-truths and 'junk science', groups like Greenpeace can whip up public hysteria over new technology before peer-reviewed oversight and scientific consensus can set the record straight. But by then, the die has been cast, the public alarmed, the 'witches' of scientific progress burned at the stake."

So there you have it, apart of course for the inevitable attacks on organic food. Guestchoice have a whole page of quotes on Organic and E. Coli which includes such gems as:

'Most especially at risk are organic products because they could be fertilized with manure.'
- Virlie Walker, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

[But animal manure has been used by mankind for thousands of years as an essential part of maintaining the organic matter content, biological activity, fertility and structural stability of agricultural soils. Why this sudden abhorrence?]

'I wrote that scientists believe that there is a greater risk of bacterial contamination in organic produce because it is grown with manure.  I based this on a couple of simple facts: organic farmers commonly use fertilizer made from animal waste instead of synthetic chemicals, and there can be dangerous bacteria in animal waste.'
- New York Times columnist John Tierney

[Sure can, but Mr Tierney appears entirely unaware that conventional farmers normally use animal manure too, and unlike organic farmers, it is not normally composted first. Human sewage is also used by conventional farmers in some cases. In the UK, conventional farmers use about 80m tonnes of animal manure a year as a fertiliser, whereas just 9,000 tonnes goes on organic land and crops!]

'Personally, if I knew something was grown with conventional chemical fertilizers, I would feel it was extra safe.'
- Dean Cliver, Professor of food safety at the University of California,Davis

[There 's no answer to that! We did however recently note the very high level of corporate investment in biotech at UC Davis - not that we're suggesting there's a connection between the agrochemical industry's largesse and informed comments like Prof Cliver's]

'I believe people should be more thoughtful about eating organic food. It is not healthier than normal mass-produced food... the risk of getting E. coli from the natural cow manure is very real.'
- Professor Hugh Pennington, who chaired the 1996 British government investigation into that nation's worst-ever E. coli outbreak

[But why the attack on organic food, when conventional food production involves far greater use of cow manure and can have chemical residues besides? Prof Pennington was a contributor, along with Tony Trewavas, to the infamous Counterblast TV programme attacking organic food.]

So if you need a good laugh, get along to
They claim, by the way, support from a coalition of more than 30,000 US restaurants and
tavern operators. They're all about protecting and promoting consumer choice, they tell us, which is presumably why, amongst much else, they so vehemently oppose GM food labeling! The guestchoice Network's activities apparently include "education" and "outreach" - the mind

Have a nice day!


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