OT Mexican Senate Votes to Require Labels on Genetically Modified Foods

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MEXICO CITY (March 30, 2000 8:54 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Mexico's Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.

The measure appears to generally agree with the U.N. biosafety protocol adopted at a meeting of 140 national representatives in Montreal, Canada, though that applies only to imported foods.

Several countries, notably in Europe, already require such labels, though they are not required in the United States. Food industry representatives have argued they would create unwarranted concern among consumers.

Under the Mexican measure, genetically modified foods would have to bear a label reading "transgenic food." Those containing some genetically modified ingredients would need a label reading: "Food made with transgenic products."

The measure approved by the Senate now must be approved by the lower house of congress, the Chamber of Deputies, before going to the president for his signature.

Major agricultural companies, many of them in the United States, have argued that there is no scientific basis for concern about genetically modified crops, which are often designed to be more productive, durable or disease resistant.

However, many environmentalists argue that a lack of experience with such foods means it is too early to rule them safe.

The Mexican branch of the environmentalist group Greenpeace issued a news release late Thursday welcoming the decision, saying it "recognizes the concerns expressed by diverse social sectors."

The group also urged Mexico to halt the import of genetically modified corn, which it said could endanger traditional Mexican corn varieties.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 31, 2000


"Several countries, notably in Europe, already require such labels, though they are not required in the United States."

Isn't that interesting? I guess our FDA does not feel we need to know when frankenstein food is being sold to us.Sure makes me feel safe....

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 31, 2000.

About six months ago on the old forum I responded to a post by asking if anyone had any clear evidence that GM foods have harmed someone. I received no direct responses.

Today my challenge still stands.

-- Rick (rick7@postmark.net), March 31, 2000.

You seem to miss the whole point about the concern in regards to GM foods. To the best of my knowledge, there is no clear evidence that these foods have harmed someone. There is also no clear evidence that it has harmed the environment. The product is comparatively new and the only apparent research that has been done on it has been done by the producers of it.

That is the whole point. GM foods would appear to be in the same stage of development that thalidomide was at when it was first released to the public.

The article's reference to the Mexican's concerns about endangerment to traditional corn varieties raises another aspect of GM foods that should be alarming all the "freedom" thinkers this discussion board appears to be so full of. In Saskatchewan, Monsanto has been gobbling-up control of what seeds farmers can and cannot plant through its ownership of GM seeds. It has gotten to the point that the company is actually taking to court those farmers who have allowed Monsanto's seeds to drift onto their property and to grow.

Do you really want such a controlled environment in the future?

Your challenge appears to be: prove to me that GM foods are bad. It would appear that no one is answering that challenge because the jury is still out. But haven't we had enough examples of technological changes which at first appeared to be valuable only to learn much later those changes had a downside that it would be wise to approach GM foods with a slow, analytical, informed public analysis rather than an attitude of, "Oh, well, the manufacturer says it's okay, so therefore it must be" approach?

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 31, 2000.

"they would create unwarranted concern among consumers"

Translation: we don't them to have to THINK!

To those who demand instant answers to otherwise reasonable questions: How many products have taken years or DECADES to be proven harmful in some manner? Answer: TOO MANY. A quick example would be artificial sweeteners, which have a long history of problems-- only 'discovered' after many many years of use by the unsuspecting public.

Posing such questions is merely a way to avoid the long term safety issue. Those asking such may in fact be industry shills. GM crops may well prove to be highly beneficial but the really long term studies aren't in yet--snotty questions aside.

-- GMfoods (NeedMore@Study.com), March 31, 2000.

I'm siding with the people who want more--LOTS MORE--proof that this stuff is safe, both short term and long term, and that it doesn't endanger heirloom varieties of plants.

I for one don't trust the agriculture "business" as far as I can throw a 160 acre farm. I believe that they are often the same people who have brought us such wonderful products as 2,4,5-T and lead tetraethyl (you know, the lead in leaded gas)

"Ethyl", although it has now been acknowledged that Dupont and General Motors deliberately began poisoning the whole planet with lead emissions needlessly (since ethanol would have done a better job than Ethyl, with almost no pollution, and less damage to the automobile engine) was invented to be used INSTEAD of ethanol, because ethanol, being the ingredient in alcoholic beverages, could not be patented. Ethyl was patented, and the manufacturers received royalties from 1923 until leaded gas was banned in the U.S. almost seventy years later. And when it was banned in the U.S, the wonderful manufacturers of this deadly poison, which NEVER leaves your body after you ingest it, (although I'm told that doctors can now reduce the amount of lead in your body using some kind of chelation treatment) have merely relocated their markets overseas.

So, Mr. Rick 7, do you propose that we wait for over sixty years, continually ingesting genetically manipulated food, before finding out that it's causing birth defects, cancer, or adulteration of heirloom crops, or some other abomination that no one has even THOUGHT about? (Except maybe Big Agro, who might just suppress the information, as did the lead tetraethyl people)

-- jumpoff joe a.k.a. Al K. Lloyd (jumpoff@ekoweb.net), March 31, 2000.

>> I responded to a post by asking if anyone had any clear evidence that GM foods have harmed someone. I received no direct responses. <<

Just wondering. Did you get any indirect responses?

Also, just what would you consider as "harm"?

Only physical injury or impairment?

Financial harm?

Harm to the environment in which that person must live?

Loss of control over fundamental choices about their future?

My biggest worry about GM foods is the idea that a mega-national corporation will someday own the patents to the food supply. No, thanks. Not in my best interest.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), April 01, 2000.

Here we go again. Back when I was a teenager, swimming in a lake that had just been sprayed with DDT, nobody worried, for DDT kept those nasty mosquitoes controlled. We were told DDT was SAFE! Now practically all mothers milk has DDT in it.

And four out of five dorctors recommended Lucky Strikes cigarettes, but Kools was the brand to smoke for a sore throat. Smoking was not only safe, but sexy.

And of course Chlordane was a very effective chemical to spray on your yard. My husband sprayed our yard, as his bird dog followed behind him, and was later so sick it nearly died. The vet said, "That damned stuff should be banned." And it was supposed to be safe.

Ah yes, all this stuff was wonderful, until the bird crop started dwindling from DDT, and lung cancer became a special problem of smokers, and a few deaths occurred from Chlordane.

There should be more testing. The government would feed it to their newborn children if it would help their cause, but they are taking a big gamble and it isn't worth it. But it's driven me back to organic gardening when I had rather set under the AC and read.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), April 01, 2000.

Opposition in Canada, too. What is happening in the US?

http://store.cad vision.com/accounts/news/h_c.asp

Canada Sat Apr 1, 11:36 pm

More protests against genetically modified food

Demonstrators in several Canadian cities donned funny costumes Saturday to protest against a trend they say is anything but laughable: genetically modified food.

In Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver they marched in front of grocery stores chanting about the dangers of what they call "Frankenstein food."

They also passed out leaflets listing products that may contain genetically modified ingredients. It's part of one-week campaign around the world called "resistance is fertile."

In what's becoming a tradition at such protests, some people were dressed as mutated fish, fruit, or vegetables to try to get people's attention.

There was also a freakish tiger with a sign that said "They're Grross," mocking a popular breakfast company's cartoon character who boasts about its cereal being "grrrreat."

A few demonstrators went inside at least one supermarket and slapped labels on cereal boxes and other food, warning people not to eat them.

They demanded the government force companies to indicate which products contain genetically modified ingredients.

"I want to know what it is before I give it to my kids," said one man.

The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors maintains that labelling is not realistic right now.

But a new poll commissioned by opponents of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)suggests more than nine out of every ten Canadians wants mandatory labelling.

RELATED STORY: Survey says Canadians worry about GM foods

In the poll, conducted by Environics for the Council of Canadians, 75 per cent of the people surveyed also worry about the safety of GMOs.

On Saturday, Greenpeace called on consumers to boycott companies that use genetically altered food in their breakfast cereals.

"It's irresponsible, and it should stop," said Peter Tabuns, the organization's executive director in Canada.

Some people think the protesters are going too far by making blanket statements about all genetically modified food.

Prof. Eduardo Blumwald, who teaches botany at the University of Toronto, for example, says he has engineered a tomato plant that can survive in extremely salty soil.

"This plant, or other plants like that, are going to feed a lot of lot of people who today cannot grow anything" in harsh climates around the world, he argues.

Blumwald says it will be years before anyone eats his tomatoes because the modified plant must undergo rigorous testing before being declared safe.

But critics say we can never be certain of the health risks of molecular changes being made to our basic food supply, and they want all genetically modified products pulled from store shelves.

(end of article)

I wonder how many gardeners are asking their seed providers whether or not any of the seeds have been genetically modified.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), April 02, 2000.

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