From the US to India, the GMO biotech industry appears to have a ‘contaminate first then push for regulatory authorisation later’ policy. The contamination of our food seems to be a deliberate strategy of the industry .
In the UK, there is a multi-pronged approach to try to get GM food onto the nation’s plates. The majority of the British public who express a view on GM food do not want it . However, we are experiencing a consistent drive to distort the debate over the GM issue, hijack institutions, co-opt so-called ‘public servants’ and pass off vest commercial interests as the ‘public good’ .
The GMO industry is mounting a full-fledged assault on Britain via the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs department, the Business, Innovations and Skills department, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the Science Media Centre, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, strategically placed scientists with their ‘independent’ reports and the industry-backed Science Media Centre [4,5,6].
Monsanto and other agritech companies are also lobbying hard for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) , which aims to throw Europe’s door wide open to GM food imports from the US with unchecked, uncheckable and unlabelled GM food . The same companies are also behind the drive to weaken the pan-European regulatory framework currently in place by attempting to push through legislation that will allow them to pick off each state one by one and force their GMOs onto people [9,10].
The industry, its mouthpieces and proxies are moreover pushing to do away with European process-based regulation , which would effectively side-step any effective process for assessing and regulating GMOs.
As if these tactics aren’t enough, the contamination of our food with GMOs is occurring right now via imported GM food from the US, which is finding its way onto the shelves of supermarkets, sometimes unlabelled. Even when it is labeled, it may be buried in the small print.
GM food in UK supermarkets
Sean Poulter writing in the Daily Mail (7th November) notes that Marks & Spencer does not use GM in own-label products . However, it now sells products from other brands which contain GM soya or corn. Marks & Spencer had a policy of selling only GM-free food, but the chain is now selling six products containing GM soya or corn despite having long presented itself as being opposed to such engineered products. The six are teriyaki, ginger, and hibachi sauces from the American TonTon brand and three flavours of Moravian Cookie – sugar, chocolate, and cranberry and orange.
Other stores are also selling an increasing number of imported US foods from brands including Reese, Hershey and Oreo that contain GM ingredients.
Last year, M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op abandoned pledges to ensure animals supplying milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and beef were not fed a GM diet.
While some food on UK supermarket shelves comes from animals fed on GM crops, without this fact needing to be declared on the label, (the EU imports about 30 million tons a year of GM crops for animal consumption), what we now have are GMOs appearing in various food products.
There was a row last year when it emerged Tesco was stocking American Lucky Charms cereal, which is made from GM corn (declared in small print on the package). The cereal also contains artificial colours that the Food Standards Agency has linked to hyperactivity in young children.