EU: GM A-OK

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Really. The European Union has lifted a ban on genetically modified food. Now, as the Economist puts it, "Europe?s nervous consumers may increasingly be forced to choose between their phobias and their wallets."

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  1. Hmph! Wasn’t it the EU’s ban that put the brakes on growing modified what in some starving Afrcian companies because the Euros were afraid that that the GM crops would cross pollinate with unmodified wheat that could be sold in Europe?

    It soooo nice that the West has the luxery to turn it’s nose up at food while it helps bar efforts feed starving people in nations that need it.

  2. JAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

    Now let’s get them off the tax harmonisation issue. Let us stop the Social Charter and the full of positive rights constitution drafts. Let us make the MEPs be more responsible for their expenses.

    And if they realise that the Lissabon Plan – the plan to make “Europe”, as they call the European Union, the leading economic and technological Power in the World. Possible?

    Maybe they will make the concept of “Habeus Corpus” completely useless in the EU. Is Britain the only country that has that in the EU? And according to “Statewatch”, the European Union is wanting a PATRIOT Act.

    One good thing (the taxes are not a result of Government. Open, free economies, markets, and countries would naturally have lower taxes. Thanking the EU for lower taxes is much of the “it could be worse” school), does not allow the troubling things to be forgotten.

    This is great news. And it must be congratulated. Now if Brussels can show it is the champion of free trade! Hope that is as successful! And hope the GM Food is not labelled as cigarettes are (“SMOKING CAN KILL” “SMOKING WILL SHORTEN YOUR LIFE” usw).

    Grape Tomatoes, anyone?

    But this is good news.

  3. Speaking of said starving Africns, I wonder how they feel about this. I imagine something along the lines of

    “My family and friends died of starvation for nothing?”

  4. Whoops, sorry for the spelling errors.

  5. The post should say “lifted a ban on ONE genetically modified food.” The news wasn’t as big as the post lead on.

  6. Hmmm.

    1) Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how, say, France banning the importation of GM food causes starvation in, say, Bangladesh. I could understand if the starving people the ban hurt were, for instance, street urchins in Paris who would be able to afford food more easily if the ban was lifted to allow cheaper imported grain. But I don’t understand what the European bans have to do with third world starvation. It’s not as if Europe is banning GM food consumption in the Third World.

    2) I’m surprised more people don’t see the liberty issues in all this. Many of you are on, say, low-carb diets, and you bend over backwards to choose foods according to what you believe is healthy for you. Others of you are allergic to this or that–the first thing you look at when you pick up an unfamiliar package is the ingredient label, yes? Still others of you have dietary restrictions based on your religions. I happen to be a vegetarian, and I choose foods that contain only plant ingredients whenever it’s practical to do so.

    But here in these comments and in this publication, the hostility toward people who would like to avoid eating GM food is palpable. True, the Founders didn’t specifically enumerate a Constitutional right of citizens to choose what, when, and whether to eat. Back then I guess they figured people were responsible for making their own food choices.

    But with the advent of GM food, it’s no longer possible for the eater to tell the difference between ordinary food and the GM variety. People who still have questions about the legitimacy of the research or the applications have no way to choose to avoid eating GM food.

    You people, who think of yourselves as champions of freedom, think it’s funny for people with reservations about GM to eat the stuff anyway because they don’t have the ability to know what they’re eating. I can imagine the hell some of you people would raise if you found out you were unknowingly eating something that violated your own dietary restrictions.

  7. Hmmm speedwell,

    1) Most of the food is grown to sell to EU nations. The EU ban causes these african nations to produce less crop than they would if they used GM food. They make less money and can’t afford to purchase the food they don’t produce.

    2) If something is banned for questionable reasons then the people do not have the liberty to choose it. I’m not sure what else to say because nothing you said makes any sense.

  8. While we’re at it, speedwell, let’s consider how dependent GM foods are for their success on 1) government enforcement of patent monopolies; 2) government funding of R&D; and 3) FDA labelling restrictions and food libel laws that prohibit the dissemination of information in the marketplace.

    Free minds, free markets, and a free ride for corporate welfare queens.

  9. Mark S.,

    “Wasn’t it the EU’s ban that put the brakes on growing modified what in some starving Afrcian companies because the Euros were afraid that that the GM crops would cross pollinate with unmodified wheat that could be sold in Europe?”

    So guess the rumor started by the U.S.; such has never been documented. It has of course been taken as proven by the American media.

  10. Karl,

    “Maybe they will make the concept of ‘Habeus Corpus’ completely useless in the EU. Is Britain the only country that has that in the EU?”

    There are similar doctrines in other EU countries – France for example – but the doctrine itself applies to Britain and its former colonies – this is a historical artifact.

    “Now if Brussels can show it is the champion of free trade!”

    Bruseels is and has been the champion of free trade in many areas.

  11. Speedwell,

    ” was lifted to allow cheaper imported grain. But I don’t understand what the European bans have to do with third world starvation. It’s not as if Europe is banning GM food consumption in the Third World.”

    Well the U.S. has claimed that the EU would not give food relief to countries if they imported GM products. This has never, ever been demonstrated by the U.S., and is probably a lie. Second they also claim that the EU’s reticence influences third world countries to stop importation of GM products. Even if the latter were the case, that’s hardly the EU causing starvation in Africa.

  12. Ricky,

    “Most of the food is grown to sell to EU nations. The EU ban causes these african nations to produce less crop than they would if they used GM food. They make less money and can’t afford to purchase the food they don’t produce.”

    Even if this were the case its hardly a compelling argument in favor of the notion that the EU causes starvation in Africa, etc. Indeed, if there are EU or US agricultural policies that cause starvation and retard economic growth these aren’t them – and we know what policies I am thinking of here (agricultural subsidies, tariffs, etc.).

  13. “People who still have questions about the legitimacy of the research or the applications have no way to choose to avoid eating GM food.”

    Sure they do. Some foods are specifically labeled, “non-GM”. As long as governments don’t institute labeling restrictions (which they might do at the behest of producers), the market will serve the needs of those concerned about GM foods in response to, and possibly in rough proportion to their willingness to put their dollars where their concerns are.

    A biological note: I think that actually, many foods have been genetically modified for a long time now, but by breeding type methods.

  14. “brute-force manipulation of genetic material ”

    Plant rape is a crime.

  15. Gary, good points. Appreciate those clarifications.

    Rick, you’re correct, of course, in saying the free market will decide if GM labeling is supportable. I certainly hope things will shake out that way. So far only “health food” type product lines seem to be paying much attention to the issue, but I suppose that’s only to be expected when mainstream customers support the modified food (as is their privilege to do).

    However, I think that there’s a difference between taking advantage of naturally occurring mutations, and engaging in brute-force manipulation of genetic material in ways that arguably could not arise spontaneously. I think you are conflating these two things for the sake of a sound bite.

  16. speedwell,

    No, not a sound bite. 😉 Just wondering.

  17. “Plant rape is a crime.”

    I’m a vegetarian. My preferred crime against plants is murder.

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