Monday, May 17, 2004

UN report: straight out of an agribusiness press release

spin / doctor / frankenstein
It seems that the FAO has been made an offer it can't refuse and published a most odious report concerning GM food, that could easily have been written by Monsanto ghostwriters. They are actualy repeating the tired old canard that GM foods will help defeat world hunger, as if the hunger problem was mainly one of production rather than distribution.
Interestingly the FAO explicitly abandons common sense and the precautionary principle, assuming all GM foods are safe unless proven otherwise, turning the world's consumers, yet again, into lab rats for the Biotech and Agribusiness industries....
Note that it is becoming increasigly unlikely that it will be "proven otherwise", as the corporate oligarchy has started an all out war against any critical voices against their products, as the case of Árpád Pusztai clearly demonstrates. As summarized in this 1999 Scientific American article:

British scientist Arpad Pusztai, who was fired last year from the Rowett
Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, and banned from speaking to the
press for a while, told a parliamentary select committee on March 8 in
London he had no regrets about his comments that led to his dismissal.
Humans, he had said, were being used as guinea pigs in a vast experiment
with genetically modified (GM) foods.

[Not uncharacteristically the BBC's science editor was quick to spew invective on a paper he either hadn't read or, worse, couldn't assess.]

See also Árpád Pusztai's website...

1 comment:

talos said...

old comments

Young Fogey:

You might know I take a different slant on this issue from you… but nonetheless I feel I have to make a general point that we're all very keen to laud UN reports when they support things we believe and slam them when they say things we don't like. Which highlights the wider problem of having absolutely no democracy in UN agencies. Which highlights yet another problem about creating democracy in an institution most of whose component parts are not democractes…

On the other hand, while not being against GM, I agree there is a danger that it diverts people from the most pressing problem facing the planet - the grotesque differences in wealth levels within it.

2004-05-17 23:32

Well I'm not against biotechnology in general either… My problem is with the non-existent (or non-reported) independent testing of GM food and the lack of any meaningful studies of ecological impact of each introduced variety. In this respect I'm pretty much behind Pusztai's opinion that GM crops should be accepted eventually but only after a thorough evaluation of health and ecological effects of their introduction.
Of course that GM food is yet another step in the creation of a worldwide food oligopoly, makes it still less attractive as a prospect.

As for the UN you're right… I can't say I have a pre-set opinion about the overall quality of the various UN organizations. It depends… This FAO report however is not about science, but about abandoning simple precautionary logic, and that is (to me) unacceptable…

2004-05-17 23:55