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Al Gore's Mealy-Mouth Position on Genetically Engineeered Food

Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000

Al Gore's Response to Friends of the Earth on his Position on GE Food
Safety & Labeling
============================================================
This response is NOT unexpected - note Gore's use of the word
"stakeholder" - this buzzword refers to any body having a stake in the
industry but excludes consumers.

Cheers
Michael
=======================
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH ACTION (The c4 political arm of Friends of the Earth)
asked Al Gore what his position is on several pressing environmental
concerns. His response touting the industry line (no required labeling,
no independent safety testing) on GE foods is below. If you would like to
see the full reply on other issues like global warming, ozone depletion,
corporatization and budget and tax issues affecting the planet, go to:
http://www.foeaction.org/

Friends of the Earth Action's Request:

5. Genetically Engineered Foods

Goal: Increase consumer information and safety of genetically engineered
foods

Action: Commit to a mandatory labelling program for genetically engineered
food and establish an effective pre-market safety testing program for
genetically engineered organisms before they enter the marketplace. Until
consumer labelling and adequate health and safety testing programs are in
place, announce a moratorium on approvals and new releases of genetically
engineered organisms.

AL GORE'S RESPONSE:

To increase consumer information, I support new guidelines for voluntary
labeling of bioengineered products to facilitate consumer choice.

After a comprehensive review, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
recommended additional regulatory safeguards and research to identify and
control any potential risks to the environment and to food safety.

I strongly favor implementing the NAS recommendations and continuing to
evaluate and improve our regulatory system, on an ongoing basis, to ensure
that we can realized the benefits of biotechnology while guarding against
undue risk to food safety and to our environment.

As with any new technology, we must carefully weigh the risks and benefits
of genetically modified organisms, particularly with respect to food
safety and potential environmental impacts.

In regard to testing, the Administration announced in May 2000 that it
will work with stakeholders to create reliable testing procedures and
quality assurance programs for differentiating non-bioengineered
commodities to better meet the needs of the market.
***************************************************
Larry Bohlen
Director, Health and Environment Programs
Friends of the Earth
1025 Vermont Ave. NW, 3rd Floor
Washington DC 20005
lbohlen@foe.org ph: (202) 783-7400 x251
www.foe.org fx: (202) 783-0444

See our Safer Food, Safer Farms Campaign at www.foe.org/safefood
and take action for healthy and environmentally sound food.
***************************************************

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