The New York Times ran an article promoting the idea of a risk-based protocol for safety evaluation that would greatly reduce the time and costs involved in developing most new gene-spliced crops. The author warns that alarmist warnings about the possible hazards of gene splicing have made the public extremely wary of this selective form of genetic modification even though such warnings have so far been groundless.

The article cites a telephone survey of 1,200 Americans released last October by the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University, 43 percent thought, incorrectly, that ordinary tomatoes did not contain genes, while genetically modified tomatoes did. One-third thought, again incorrectly, that eating genetically modified fruit would change their own genes.

Most worrisome is that the European Union has banned imports of all foods produced through gene splicing, and it has kept many nations, including those afflicted with widespread malnutrition, from accepting even donated gene-spliced foods and crops by threatening to cut off products they export because they might become contaminated with introduced genes. Uganda has even prohibited the testing of a fungus-resistant banana created through gene splicing, even though the fungus is devastating that nation’s most important crop.

However, among foods developed through conventional methods to induce mutations, e.g., lettuce, beans, grapefruit, rice, oats and wheat, none had to undergo stringent testing and federal approval before reaching the market. Only those foods produced by the specific introduction of one or more genes into the organism’s DNA are subject to strict and prolonged premarketing regulations.

Read the article at here.

  Print This Post Print This Post  

Comments are closed.