‘Frankenstein’-food fears keep GMOs out of Europe

February 5, 2010

As the new European Union executive prepares to debate fresh policy proposals which might unblock the stalemate over approving genetically modified crops for feed, processing or cultivation, there are few signs that Europe’s fears over what some have termed “Frankenstein foods” are easing. 

On Friday Bulgaria’s ruling GERB party proposed a five-year moratorium on the production of genetically modified (GM) crops for scientific and commercial reasons following public outcry over a new legislation. 

Bulgaria follows in the footsteps of Austria, Germany, Hungary and France, all of whom have banned the commercial cultivation of the only GM crop (Monsanto’s MON 810 maize type) allowed to be grown in the European Union.  

Why, despite all the assurances from the scientific community and food safety authorities, do so many remain so adverse to GMOs?

The answer you often get from consumers when you ask why they don’t like GMOs is: ”You just never know” — suggesting they think there are still dangers lurking out there.

The last survey conducted by the European Union on public acceptance of GMOs,  in 2006, showed that while many had faith in biotechnology, few had an appetite for food made from genetically modified organisms. For Europeans, the perceived risk still seems to outweigh the demonstrated benefits in terms of  higher crop yields and less use of pesticides.

Recent events suggest European opinion has altered little since 2006, suggesting it could be a long time still before Europe embraces a GMO-world.

7 comments

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The EU is being unrealistic — always a pleasure, but not a safe one. If we do not use GMO foods we will not be able to feed our soaring population. Of course Europe is not in the business of feeding other hungry countries so perhaps they can hold out a while against modified grains.

We will also need to use these plants because they not only provide more food per plant they require less pesticide, which will help heal the planet (however slowly).

As we foolishly take on crops like corn and sugar cane as fuel sources, there will be less space for growing food. Again, GMO plants will help overcome this problem because of their high yields.

And to give “You never know” as your excuse for ignoring the best science available is simple ignorance. Ignorance may have gotten us into all the problems we’re in, but it sure as hell won’t get us out.

Posted by ACC | Report as abusive

I wonder how many of the “you never know” crowd eats processed meat.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

Don’t kid yourself that fear is what drives objections to Monsanto’s business model, when it’s actually revulsion.

http://maxkeiser.com/2009/04/14/max-keis er-blog-germany-bans-monsanto-gm-corn/

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

[...] via ‘Frankenstein’-food fears keep GMOs out of Europe | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters. [...]

Read the book “seeds of deception” by Jeffrey Smith and watch the documentary “the world according to monsanto”
Transgenetic manipulation of food species will spell the death knell for this planet. GMO crops will contaminate and eliminate bio diversity and companies like monsanto will end up owing and controlling food on this planet.And who knows what havoc this technology is going to wreck on human biology.

Posted by TheBlueFeather | Report as abusive

The Europeans are wise to reject the GM plan. Gm will ruin the soil for normal farming and kill the market, especially for organic farming. The agronomists know this and their advice so far appears to be wisely heeded.
The GM rejection is also a move to stop the US mega industries from taking over the political/economic policies of those countries. This has already occurred in Latin American nations. A nation who refuses to allow
US industrial take over is labeled “communist”. Venezuela is one of these blacklisted by the US government for this reason. It seems they don’t want to lose what freedom they have to the “Land of the free”.

Posted by Rainer4111 | Report as abusive

Between the Corporations and the Banksters, much is upside down in America but people know it. They may not understand all the interwoven webs of DeCeit, but some do.

Here’s an example:

Meet Michael R. Taylor, J.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor was named deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2010. He is the first individual to hold the position, which was created along with a new Office of Foods in August 2009.

Mr. Taylor is leading FDA efforts to
develop and carry out a prevention-based strategy for food safety plan for new food safety legislation
ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition

“I am fully committed to working with my FDA colleagues to make the changes necessary to ensure the safety of America’s food supply from farm to table,” said Mr. Taylor. “We look forward to working in new ways within FDA and with partners in other government agencies, the consumer community, and the food industry to tackle the important challenges – and the unprecedented opportunities – we currently face.”

Mr. Taylor received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his B.A. degree in political science from Davidson College. A nationally recognized food safety expert, Mr. Taylor has served in numerous high-level positions at FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as a research professor in the academic community, and on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees studying food-related issues.

Before returning to FDA in July 2009 as senior advisor to the commissioner, Mr. Taylor served as research professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University. His research agenda focused on policy, resource, and institutional issues that affect the success of public health agencies in carrying out their prevention-related missions.

Mr. Taylor served as administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and acting under secretary for food safety at USDA. He spearheaded public health-oriented reform of FSIS, guided the development of new safety requirements for meat and poultry products, and addressed the hazard associated with E. coli O157:H7 in beef products.

Mr. Taylor began his career as a staff attorney at FDA, holding various positions including deputy commissioner for policy. He was involved in issuing regulations to address seafood safety and in carrying out nutrition labeling requirements.

Other positions held by Mr. Taylor include senior fellow, Resources for the Future; professor, School of Medicine, University of Maryland; partner, King & Spalding law firm; and vice president for public policy, Monsanto Company… snip:

Make note of his degree is in Political Science, not agriculture or food processing or farming or animal husbandry. He’s not even a bio-scientist, he’s a lawyer. Also note they mention “ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition;” however, they (he) has help to make sure there is no labeling of origin, GMO, rBGH or other chemical adulterations of the raw food used. Such as a certain food company that is the only company that agreed to use the Mansanto GMO Sugar Beet as sweetener in their cereals – this information is not on their labels, nor is it required by the FDA.

http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffic es/OC/OfficeofFoods/ucm196721.htm

http://biointegrity.org/list.html

Resistance to Monsanto and their ilk is large and growing.
http://folklight.blogspot.com/2009/07/fo rmer-monsanto-executive-is-food-czar.htm l

Posted by Folklight | Report as abusive

That’s cool. Thanks. BuyJamon.com your online source for jamon iberico de bellota, pata negra and other Spanish hams. http://BuyJamon.com

Posted by shahriarhkhan | Report as abusive