Tuesday 25 February 2014

GMO Spuds poised for Market

Genetically modified potatoes are back in the news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26189722. British scientists have developed a GM potato that they say can resist late onset blight. This disease is caused by a fungus that thrives in damp and humid farming conditions and has been blamed for the Irish famine in the 19th century which killed two million people and forced two million more into exile in North America. Currently there are no GMO potatoes certified as fit for human consumption, but that is set to change. Predictably McDonalds are surfing that publicity wave by announcing that they're keen to add any new mutants to their recipe, see: http://www.naturalnews.com/043419_mcdonalds_gmo_potatoes_french_fries.html#. One name that has been skirted around like a muddy puddle is Dr Arpad Pusztai, a Hungarian biochemist who worked for the Rowlett Research Institute for food and nutrition. In 1998 he was tasked by the UK Government to assess the safety of Axis Genetics' NewLeaf™ which are Desiree Red potatoes with a snowdrop gene inserted supposedly to make them immune to insects. He did what he was told and experimented honestly on them, and he discovered that they are not safe; they actually damage the stomach lining and immune system of rats. He was told very bluntly: "Wrong answer, Arpad!" and was forced out of his job; Monsanto was instrumental in the process of ruining him. In 2009 he suffered a stroke and was unable to attend Ian R Crane's Alternative View II Conference at Heathrow Airport, London. His lecture was delivered in proxy by his wife Susan Bardocz, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/alternative-view-ii-part-3.html.

In the BBC link above there's a radio interview with government "rural tsar" Lord Haskins in which he ridicules what he portrays as propaganda over "Frankenstein foods" and "the end of the world!" He riles against the UK and European Union's cautious attitude to GMO research and thinks we should emulate the Americans' no-holds-barred approach. He even suggests that GMO potatoes would suit organic farmers because they need fewer pesticides. This interview was extremely one-sided and no dissenting opinion was presented; the other guest was the equally pro-GM Peter Kendall of the National Farmers' Union. Bringing up the Irish famine was pure scaremongering; if for no other reason than the potato blight was not the real cause of it. The blight did wipe out Ireland's potato crop correlating in mass starvation, but this would not have been half as disastrous if the farms' other produce had not been ring-fenced for export by foreign corporate landowners. There's a direct parallel with Brazil today; it's one of the world's biggest food exporters while a thousand Brazilian children a week die of malnutrition. If genetically modified spuds are wrongly passed as fit for human consumption then other crops might follow, like the controversial Golden Rice™, see: http://www.goldenrice.org/. It is essential that we put a stop to this before these genomes reach a level where they are a permanently part of the Earth's biosphere. Only an informed public can achieve this because all the governments and regulators are under the thumb of Monsanto. The good news is that there is a growing public backlash against GMO food. The reason the authorities want to try to get away with not having GM labels on cans and packets etc is because they know damn well that it will rot on the shelves. People simply don't want GMO. Therefore we will all have to get wise to their tricks and insist on top quality GMO-free organic food and accept nothing less.

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