Today, the European Court has banned the cultivation and sale of a GM potato. The court was prudent enough not to engage in scientific concerns, so it justified its decision by saying that the GM potato "Amflora" was taken only because of procedural errors by the EC Commission and how the producer, BASF, received the authorization. If you now just think: 'What does this tell us?' and wonder if once again someone's hand was held open as the GM lobby had made an unbeatable offer? Well it comes much worse: the risks embedded in this "wonder-potato" are significant as you will read further down.
First of all EC Commissioners are not elected the people like a secretary for agriculture would be, EC Commissioners are appointed. And here begins the same old story of the EC: the Commissioner had not given the appropriate committee of the EU countries the slightest chance of an opinion on a study, research made by EFSA. And this was the only reason why the crop was now being banned from being cultivated and sold. In simple words of the court: the EC Commissioner had significantly breached the procedural obligations. A old very "lefty" friend of mine was recently laughing about the EC, "saying they are worse then of what we in the 1968 where blamed for! It can't get more autocratic?"
My "Shop Local" series on this blog should be understood as an invitation to create more local cooperative stores. To put more emphasis on professional training of young people to value their ambitions, - finally not everybody can serve his time at a desk... So active cooperative stores, can meet the needs of all people, old and professional overloaded with little time for daily shopping. These cooperative stores can easily initiated by the various professional organizations and promoted instead of always wallow only on how to create ever more regulations.
This is not a criticism of genetic engineering per se! Its a criticism of a for-profit-gen-research and gene manipulation, driven by an management culture with a furtive glances at the dividend for shareholders. Do even think these companies are having honorable ideals in mind! The ethical responsibilities of the market-leader: BASF supplied the gas cyclone for Auschwitz, Monsanto, the defoliant "Agent Orange". Those who expect honesty from such companies is either naive or suffers a lack of experience. The spokesman for Monsanto says this even openly in an interview (1)
No consumer is simultaneously an guinea pig or a subject of the research. The possible consequences of GM food, measured against the stronger regulations for pharma-co-kinetic tests before a drug receives approval are far from being on the same level and still GM food concerns us in the same way.Perhaps this critique here is also about a helpless state in our capitalist world which sliding ever more into a new kind of feudalism because capitalism can't produce enough wealth for all when capital is concentrated in the hands of a few...
Okay, practically speaking: To buy food with a bar code is short-sighted. Bar codes are serving the trader to evaluate individual shopping habits of consumers so these data can be submitted for cheap and fast digital analysis. What remains in the shelves is what promises quick profit. Forget health-care reform drama. The same criteria apply of course also to the producers of food. The result is more and more taste design, more and more unbalanced diet and will ultimately lead us until we eventually suck our meals from the tube like astronauts.
Coming back to this potato and what the court avoided to say: Design taste was not so much the goal in the development of this genetically modified potato "Amflora". This potato contains a gene as a marker that is resistant to antibiotics. It's a marked gene that serves to find those plant cells that have taken up the new gene (which produces more potato starch), so that it finally triggered the desired properties. The concerns are based on scientifically evidential fact that the consumption of this genetically modified potato with that antibiotic resistant gene is transferred to a bacteria that also lives in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. Bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics cause pathogens resistance to various antibiotics as well, hence then this antibiotic can no longer be used for treatments with exactly these antibiotics. One of the antibiotics against the the resistant gene is kanamycin and kanamycin is listed in the list of essential medicines by the WHO as a reserve antibiotic for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Its like digging your own grave... and what is at stake is here in an earlier blog entry: SOS-Save Our Seeds
(1) Brandon Mitchener, Public Affairs propagandist for Monsanto Europe explains the reasons for the company to keep bad trial results secret.
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