Iowa Public Television

 

GMO protests

posted on March 31, 2000


IN EUROPE, THEY'RE SET TO PROPOSE COMPULSORY TESTS ON CATTLE FOR MAD COW DISEASE. IN THE STATES, A USDA STUDY SHOWS ONE OUT OF A HUNDRED CHICKENS PASSES BY GOVERNMENT INSPECTORS AT SLAUGHTERING PLANTS WITH FECAL CONTAMINATION THAT THREATENS HUMAN HEALTH.

GLOBALLY, NEWS LIKE THAT MAKES CONSUMERS SKITTISH ABOUT THE FOOD SUPPLY. THE LATEST CONCERN FOR SOME IS OVER GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS. WHILE NOT THE THREAT OF SOMETHING LIKE FECAL CONTAMINATION, THE DISPUTE OVER THE SAFETY OF G-M-O FOODS HAS STILL BECOME A POLARIZING ISSUE, AS PROTESTERS AT A BIOTECH CONVENTION PROVED THIS WEEK.

THE NOISY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS WERE OUTNUMBERED BY SCIENTISTS BY MORE THAN THREE-TO-ONE. BUT THE SCOPE OF THE PROTEST OUTSIDE THE "BIO 2000 CONFERENCE" IN BOSTON WAS EMBLEMATIC OF THE GROWING PUBLIC CONCERN OVER GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS, OR G-M-Os.

PROTESTER: "This is not a safe way to raise fruits and vegetables and there's no need for it."

PROTESTER: "You don't know what you're eating and big people are making the decisions for you."

AT THE HEART OF THE DEMONSTRATION WAS ANXIETY OVER GENETICALLY ALTERED SEEDS AND FOOD, WHICH THE PROTESTERS CLAIM HAVE NOT BEEN PROVEN SAFE. BY SOME ESTIMATES, 60 TO 70 PERCENT OF THE PROCESSED FOODS IN THE U.S. - FROM TOMATOES TO SOYBEANS - CONTAIN G-M-Os. THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT REQUIRE SUCH FOODS TO BE LABELED.

FOOD INDUSTRY LEADERS ARGUE G-M-O WARNING LABELS BEING PROPOSED IN CONGRESS WOULD NEEDLESSLY SCARE AMERICAN CONSUMERS.

GLICKMAN: "I think more and more people in the private sector in the industry are recognizing that consumer confidence is the key for them selling their product...They're not going to sell anything if people don't think it's safe and they don't have confidence in the food supply."

Tags: crops European Union farmers food genetic engineering news