The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Pursuit of choice may be death of us all

Editorial Coment

From The Universe dated August 9, 1998

There was uproar in the House of Commons this week when officials decided that MPs would not be served genetically-modified foods in the House's bars and restaurants.
Not surprisingly, environmentalists were quick to accuse the Government of gross hypocrisy in forcing controversial foodstuffs on to the public whilst ensuring they are protected from them.
Elsewhere, protesters were being arrested for damaging a modified maize field, while Environment Secretary Michael Meacher rejected demands for a ban on the new crops, despite concerns that it was damaging the life cycle of insects.
Accused of playing Russian roulette with the countryside, and putting public health at risk, the Government responded in familiar fashion.
New Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson donned a white coat to visit a new 65 million Biomedical Sciences Building in London, dubbed 'the laboratory of the future'.
The new minister was quick to confirm that he would be happy to eat genetically-modified food.
"Genetically-modified or not, I think high-quality, nutritious food is, as a general proposal, good for people," proclaimed Mr. Mandelson.
His assumption, he said, was that if such food appeared on a plate: "I have to assume that it had passed the required food safety tests and met acceptance of those who know more about these matters than I do."
Understandably, few people were reassured; most of us still have vivid memories of similar assurances about salmonella in eggs, and recall politicians feeding beefburgers to their children in the very midst of the BSE crisis.
We are all becoming increasingly paranoid about the food we are eating, and can you blame us?
It's bad enough that the Western world has far more of it than it can consume but we are now in real danger of destroying ourselves with the relentless pursuit of consumer choice.
More worrying is the insistence from those who should know far better that everything must be all right until some expert can positively prove that it isn't.
We went that way with BSE, but persisting with genetic modification until someone says it's going wrong could provoke a crisis that will be a whole lot harder to rectify.
Reproduced with thanks.

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