Black-washing the Genetically Modified Food Debate

The biotechnology industry maintains that there is strong
support for genetically modified (GM) food throughout the world.
The media watchdog group SpinWatch begs to differ,

accusing the GM industry of paying groups
of South African,
Indian, and black American Baptists to protest anti-GM protests.
‘[F]rom US administration platforms to UN headquarters, from
Capitol Hill to the European Parliament, we’ve been treated to a
veritable minstrelsy of lobbying,’ writes Jonathan Matthews.

He explains that the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) — which
bills itself as ‘bringing justice to the Third World’ — is in fact
a biotech industry front group with ties to the agribusiness giant
Monsanto. He reports that CORE has been desperate to improve the
reputation of genetically-engineered products around the world and
has high jacked human rights rhetoric by claiming that ‘the hunger
and suffering of millions of the world’s poor … are denied the
benefits of genetically engineered food.’ The United States is
there for back up, as evidenced by President Bush’s 2003 threat to
sue the European Union for not opening its markets to American GM

In reality, there is broad international support for GM
regulation. Lim Li Ching, senior fellow at the Oakland Institute, a
nonpartisan think tank, says 116 countries around the world have
signed the Cartagena Protocol, an agreement that allows countries
the right to control the import of genetically modified organisms
into their countries — an accord the United States has not signed.
has criticized the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA
for proposing
food safety guidelines that would loosen restrictions on the
containment of experimental GM material in food, possibly affecting
the food supplies of countries importing the modified food. Ching
says there should be ‘careful scrutiny of US proposals that may
find their way into global negotiations or unilaterally affect
importing countries.’
Barb Jacobs

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