Last week the European Commission warned President Nicolas Sarkozy that a proposed temporary freeze on the planting of genetically modified crops in France contravenes European law and today we learn that the area planted with such crops in Europe increased by 77% last year, giving the biotech industry cause to claim this proves their product is appealing to farmers and safe for the environment.
In the current issue of The Difference, retired animal geneticist John Hodges asks what risk cloned meat and milk might present to consumers, expresses fears that unknown abnormalities may be transferable to humans through food as happened with Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD), and calls upon the UK and the EU parliaments to take an independent position on cloned-animal products for human consumption:
"The decision not to label is contrary to the economic principle that markets work effectively when decisions are made by customers with access to full information – “the customer is right”. This whole scenario is unethical and has the flavour of vested business interests successfully pressuring government quickly to approve their desired objective. One suspects they know that hypothetical polls have already shown consumer resistance. Further, the limited tests do not offer authentic scientific guarantees of food safety for a novel technique whose long-term hazards upon the whole population are unknown. Normal ethical standards for such an important issue cry out for public debate, for legislative rather than delegated executive action, for science relevant to the risk and for consumers’ rights and wishes to be respected. The issues are too important to be left to the ideology of market forces alone."Let us know what you think and if you haven't seen Hodges' article, order your copy of The Difference today!