Odds are that your government has no comprehensive policy for the regulation of GMO foods. Big agri-biotech money has a tendency to cloud the legislative process. CLICK HERE if you missed part 1 of this article, or HERE for part 2.
World governments divided
Regulatory guidelines involving GMO foods are far from universal, globally. Some nations – chief among them the U.S. – have been hesitant to agree on how to monitor and approve new varieties of GM plants. Japan has made health testing of GMO foods mandatory, and consumers have the option of buying clearly define GMO or non-GMO foods in supermarkets. According to the journal Nature Biotechnology in Feb. 2000, Japanese consumers have sided largely with non-modified, non-GMO foods. India’s government appears poised to consider GMO plants with suspicion, although endemic poverty, an exploding population and quite possibly economic grease from the agri-biotech industry could change India’s tune, notes a study in the Nov. 1999 issue of Nature.
Countries like Brazil, Hungary and Peru have instituted outright bans against genetically modified crops, and European nations don’t seem far behind, notes the publication Nature Biotechnology. Outbreaks of mad cow disease in Great Britain and scares over dioxin-tainted foods from Belgium reportedly have most European consumers worried about whether their governments should trust GMO food producers. Mandatory GMO food labeling in now required across Europe, and the European Commission has set a 1 percent threshold for the amount of acceptable GMO contamination of non-GMO food products.
The US appears most confused
This leaves the United States, where regulation of GMOs is a mess, to put it charitably. Too many regulatory government agencies, from the EPA to the USDA to the FDA and beyond, amount to too many cooks in the kitchen. Each agency covers a different facet of the GMO foods industry, and each has different goals and standards to maintain. Plus, with myriad internal divisions within each agency that desire credit and appeasement, the bureaucracy has made meaningful movement on the GMO slow to non-existent. Until groups like the EPA can establish limits on the use of Bt in GMO foods like corn, decisions cannot be made. Until groups like the FDA are able to come up with something better than the 1992 policy that doesn’t require GMO producers to consult with the organization or even follow its recommendations, there will be no movement.
An effective policy that mandates that agri-biotech companies submit to consultations over GMO food safety would go a long way toward proving that GMO consumers are more conscientious than the apathetic lotus-eaters from Homer’s “The Odyssey.” Rather than hiding behind a trusting, near-narcotic haze of indifference – a refuge for “dummies” who assume that everything their government tells them is the truth despite their being a lack of evidence to support such confidence – consumers should demand that legislators pass laws that mandate thorough testing of GMO foods. The price of indifference could prove steep, indeed.
KPLU 88.5: http://humanosphere.kplu.org/2011/05/critics-say-world-health-organization-too-cozy-with-corporate-interests/
True Activist: http://www.trueactivist.com/hungary-destroys-all-monsanto-gmo-corn-fields/
Wikipedia entry for Bacillus thuringiensis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis