GM Foods in the Spotlight

Photo National Public Radio 2013

Its not easy being GM
Two recent articles, one featured on National Public Radio, and the second on New York Times Op-Ed page, both look at the trials and tribulations of the approval process for  new GM products.

In his piece for NPR, Dan Charles looks at the different motives behind the development of so-called Golden Rice, which is  genetically modified to have high levels of beta-carotene.  While Agra-business has always claimed the GM grains were intended to increase farm yields in countries that desperately need to feed their people, many activists claim that the real goal is to market highly profitable proprietary seeds and pesticides.

Emily Anthes’ New York Times opinion piece argues that FDA approval of GM animal breeds such as the Aqua Advantage salmon and the Enviropig have been held up for political reasons.  She claims that these new types of GM farm animals offer real environmental and economic advantages that consumers should welcome.

But why don’t they want us to know?
An interesting parallel runs through each of these articles:  In the first, the International Rice Research Institute that develop Golden Rice is now in hot water because a study that it backed in China to test its ability to supplement beta-carotene in children, failed to disclose to all the participants that it is a GM product.

And Emily Anthes glosses over the fact that  the corporations that develop products like the Aqua Advantage  salmon also spent a mountain of money to defeat the California GM labeling initiative.  One wonders why, if we accept the idea that these products offer a clear advantage to consumers and farmers alike, why Agra-business wants to prevent their being  labeled as such?

Just asking.

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