WTO Biotech Ruling Expected Tomorrow

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The World Trade Organization will issue a ruling tomorrow on the case brought by the United States, Canada, and Argentina against the European Union's moratorium on importing grain and ingredients made from genetically enhanced crops. The rumor is that the WTO will decide that the EU did unreasonably restrict trade on biotech products.

According to Reuters, Adrian Bebb, GMO Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, declared,

"The WTO, the U.S. administration and biotech firms should stop their bullying and let Europeans decide what food we eat."

Of course, the whole point of fostering freer trade under the WTO is to let European consumers decide what food they want to eat the old-fashioned way–by letting them choose to buy or not to buy in grocery stores.

Once again, no biotech crop stocks were flogged in the blog item.

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  1. Of course, the whole point of the EU is to not let the stupid people decide how best to run their own lives. That should be left to the experts.

  2. Of course, the whole point of fostering freer trade under the WTO is to let European consumers decide what food they want to eat the old-fashioned way–by letting them choose to buy or not to buy in grocery stores.

    Of course the only way this can happen is by somehow informing consumers of what products contain GMO and what doesn’t.

  3. Can’t consumers be informed just by making it illegal to label a product as “GMO-free” if it indeed has GMO in it?

  4. Of course the only way this can happen is by somehow informing consumers of what products contain GMO and what doesn’t.

    And this may be a problem. If I remember right, GM food companies rejected an EU proposal to label their food as containing genetically modified substances. I fully agree that people should be able to choose for themselves, but I’m also a strong believer of informed choice, and for that you need proper labeling.

  5. The US is now allowing pharmacrops to be planted in open fields. That is bioteck crops that are being used to produce pharmaceuticals are being grown in open fields where it is impossible to avoid contamination of other plants.

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/8123/8123biotechnologya.html

    Those radical environmentalists from Anheuser-Busch are fighting back.

    http://deltafarmpress.com/news/050411-busch-refusal/

    “If, as planned, Ventria Bioscience?s pharmaceutical rice varieties are planted in the Missouri Bootheel, Anheuser-Busch has announced it won?t buy any rice grown or processed in the state. Anheuser-Busch is the largest domestic consumer of rice.”

  6. Jozef and Herrick,

    In order for mandatory labelling to be required the labelling would have to be found to a proper application of the health, welfare, etc. exception of the WTO charter. As a primer on how these issues are dealt with see:

    Art. I, III, XI, and XX of the GATT (the WTO essentially incorporated this when it replaced the GATT – its way more complicated than that description but you get the point). Also see the GATT decision on U.S. tuna laws (30 ILM 1594 (1991)), the shrimp import prohibition decision (38 ILM 118 (1999), and the decision against the E.U regarding the beef hormones case (WTO Doc. No. WT/DS26/AB/R & WT/DS48/AB/R (1998)) for some examples of how the Art. XX health, etc. exception has played out before the GATT/WTO.

  7. When you think about it though, Europeans will always be igity like this when it comes to what they think of as “Frankenfoods” (I personally have no problem with eating GMO crops and animals, but I understand why someone with a more reactionary temperament might be scared), I don’t see why the GMO-peddler’s don’t just give in and label their products to get access to the European markets. It seems like a small price to pay to humor the Eurocrats that would otherwise prevent them from accessing the consumers of Europe

  8. Wake up, people! Importing these genetically-modified foods can only lead to disaster!

  9. Just a friendly reminder:

    ALL FOODS ARE GENETICALLY MODIFIED

    For those who complain about labelling, here is my proposal. Foods should come with one of the following two labels:

    1: This food was genetically engineered by professional scientists and has been extensively studied for its environmental and health impacts.

    2: This food was genetically engineered by random trial-and-error, often by people with little or no knowledge of genetics. Rigorous, scientific studies may or may not have been done with respect to the product’s safety.

    Which would you eat?

  10. Hakluyt: In that case, how can I, as a consumer, choose freely whether to consume GM food or not? What you are pointing to is not about enabling consumer choice, but allowing companies to withold information on the basis of which I could make my choice.

  11. Anheuser-Busch is the largest domestic consumer of rice.

    One more reason not to drink Bud.

    – Josh

  12. Jozef,

    Start a boycott of food producers who don’t label voluntarily.

  13. Chad:

    “For those who complain about labelling, here is my proposal.
    Foods should come with one of the following two labels:
    1: This food was genetically engineered by professional scientists
    and has been extensively studied for its environmental and health
    impacts.”

    Unfortunately that’s the point, biotech foods have NOT been
    “extensively studied for its environmental and health
    impacts”.

    The argument made in favor of biotech food is that it is exactly
    like regular food. The government has bought this argument, and that
    is why biotech food can be bought and sold for human consumption without
    any such health studies.

    The exception to this are pharmacrops, the govt does require testing
    before they are allowed to be released for public consumption. This is
    why it seems very odd that Ventria has been allowed by the govt to grow
    grow 150 acres of pharma in open fields without these crops being oked
    for human consumption.

    For me, Anheuser-Busch did the right thing by stopping this at least
    in Missouri.

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