Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mark Bittman: "Why Do G.M.O.'s Need Protection?"

Mark Bittman's piece ("Why Do G.M.O.’s Need Protection?") in today's online edition of The New York Times is, I believe, extraordinary. He covers a handful of issues under the genetically-engineered umbrella without being extremist to the point of unreadable.

Bittman was set off by the steamrolling of the public interest in the form of a Congressional rider that I wrote about last week.
"The rider essentially prohibits the Department of Agriculture from stopping production of any genetically engineered crop once it’s in the ground, even if there is evidence that it is harmful.
"That’s a pre-emptive Congressional override of the judicial system, since it is the courts that are most likely to ask the U.S.D.A. to halt planting or harvest of a particular crop."
And here's more vitriol:
"[T]he pre-emptive 'biotech rider' is such an insult: Congress is (again) protecting corporations from the public interest. This is all the more reason that food derived from genetically modified organisms should be so labeled, especially since the vast majority of Americans want them to be.
"Still, we should abhor the use of genetically engineered seeds without adequate testing, and protest against hijacking the Constitution to guarantee the 'right' to unregulated use of genetically engineered seeds. It’s smart to prudently explore the possible benefits and uses of genetically engineered materials in agriculture, and to deploy them if and when they’re proven to be a) safe (otherwise, no) and b) beneficial to society at large (otherwise, why bother?). I don’t believe that any G.E. materials have so far been proven to be either of these things, and therefore we should proceed cautiously."
Click here to read the entire article.