Protest Outside US Governors' Meeting Discussing GE Foods

Protest Outside US Governors' Meeting Discussing GE Foods

August 7, 2001


The use of genetically modified foods in the United States
is increasing dramatically and policymakers should be prepared,
a panel of biotechnology experts told a gathering of state
governors yesterday.

At a meeting of the National Governors Association in
Providence, R.I., Gwen Action of the Functional Genomics Program
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said two-thirds of
the food products on the shelves of American supermarkets
contain genetically modified vegetables. But surveys show that
two-thirds of Americans are opposed to genetically modified
foods and key trading partners prohibit imports of genetically
modified products, she said. Action added that policy makers
should determine whether such crops pose health risks to humans
or threaten the environment, and they should ensure the crops
are properly regulated.

Linda Thrane of the industry group Council for
Biotechnology Information, however, said that the more people
learn about the technology, the more they will accept it. Thrane
told the governors that modifying food crops to resist insects
allows farmers to use less pesticides, produce vegetables with
more nutrition and increase production.

"All of us as policy makers need to take this issue much
more seriously because it affects our food supply and
economics," said Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), chairman of the
NGA's natural resources committee (Peter B. Lord, Providence
Journal, Aug. 7).

Meanwhile, outside the meeting, activists protesting the
use of biotech foods joined with labor and other groups to voice
their opinions on the issues. "People have the right to choose
not to be guinea pigs," said protester Deedee Lozano of
Cleanwater Action (Andrea L. Stape, Providence Journal, Aug. 7).
-- DAF

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