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20 yrs Later, the Biotech Brigade Marches on….

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Genetic Engineering page.

Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were "substantially equivalent" to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be "hampered by unnecessary regulation." In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his "regulatory relief" agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened.

We've been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech "true believers," ideologically anti-regulatory government officials and industry lobbyists have kept that flood gate open against great odds.

Agricultural biotech has consistently failed to deliver on promises, inspired a global backlash and remained suspect to consumers for twenty years. Yet our regulatory agencies play a game of hot potato, each devising more creative ways than the last to avoid taking a hard look at the fact that GE corn, soy and now alfalfa are the backbone of the industrial food system, and cover hundreds of thousands of acres of countryside without having passed any meaningful scientific scrutiny as to their safety (in part because scientists can't get their hands on GE crops to study them). USDA actually has as a declared tenet of their strategic plan, the global proliferation of GE crop technologies. Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were "substantially equivalent" to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be "hampered by unnecessary regulation." In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his "regulatory relief" agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened.

We've been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech "true believers," ideologically anti-regulatory government officials and industry lobbyists have kept that flood gate open against great odds.

Agricultural biotech has consistently failed to deliver on promises, inspired a global backlash and remained suspect to consumers for twenty years. Yet our regulatory agencies play a game of hot potato, each devising more creative ways than the last to avoid taking a hard look at the fact that GE corn, soy and now alfalfa are the backbone of the industrial food system, and cover hundreds of thousands of acres of countryside without having passed any meaningful scientific scrutiny as to their safety (in part because scientists can't get their hands on GE crops to study them). USDA actually has as a declared tenet of their strategic plan, the global proliferation of GE crop technologies.