Re: SOC/BIO: US Caves on GM Rules

Date: Sat Jan 29 2000 - 12:05:15 MST

Greg Burch forwards:
> Under the compromise, for two years after the protocol comes into
> effect, labels must say only that a product may contain such materials,
> without specifics. During those two years, negotiators will work out more
> specific labels.
> [...]
> Genetically modified crops are already widespread. About 70 million
> acres of genetically engineered plants were cultivated worldwide in 1999. In
> the United States, genetically engineered varieties account for about 25
> percent of corn and 40 percent of soybeans.

This sounds like it could be another "Proposition 65". This was a
California initiative passed in 1986 which required notification to
the public when toxic substances were used in products. The idea was
to force industry to clean up its act by making them scare people when
they had to admit how poisonous their industrial methods were.

But from my perspective, it seems not to have had much effect. Prop 65
warnings are everywhere. Companies are forced to run ads in the paper
saying "chemicals thought to be toxic are used in our products", gas
stations put up signs, and so on. But we don't even notice them anymore.
They are just part of the urban scenery. I can't imagine a company
choosing to reformulate their products to avoid using toxics when they
can just pay a couple of thousand dollars to run an ad in the paper.

If engineered crops are as common as the last paragraph above says,
then I suspect the same thing will happen. Corn and soy are two of the
most widely used ingredients in processed foods. Everything will be
GM and no one will notice after a while.


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