|My Ref: EUD-2001/18/EC- GW/1
July 25, 2004
L o w I m p a c t E c o l o g i c a l S y s t e m s
I understand that there is report, A5-0225/2002, on the labelling of genetically modified foodstuffs by Karin Scheele in the European Parliament at Strasbourg at 15:15 on 2nd July. This is to amend the European Commision Directive no. 2001/18/EC
Disturbingly, I have been informed by Friends of the Earth that Labour MEPs have been ordered by the 'Big Boy Blair' and 'Double Duck Duncan' not to support the amendments to label all foods containing GM genes and products sourced from GE altered food produce, including crops for animal feed. I hope you will support the amendments and ask for a further amendment regarding the issue of zero tolerance for contamination.
I am a vegetarian and even if I were not, the idea that I will not know what my food contains is alarming and something I find totally unacceptable, so I urge you to support the bill. Although however I am not happy with Amendment 9 offered by Karin Scheele and consider it the only flaw in an otherwise creditable report.
Karin Scheele of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy has offered an amendment (Amendment 9), to Directive 2001/18/EC, as copied below.
Whereas I applaud the general philosophy behind Karin Scheele's report and astuteness in enlightening other members to obvious flaws in the 'Directive'
A tolerance of 1% contamination is ludicrous. I cannot with all good conscience eat a vegetarian soup knowing that it may be made with 1% animal ingredients. To market unlabeled food is appalling. Many years ago such labelling was not necessary. Food marketing was a simple preparation of wholesome ingredients. However, for some time now, many foods have been a concoction of the chemical industry's flavourings, colourings and enhancers etc., both biological and artificially derived. Now we are adding GM organisms and their derivatives and are about to allow a contamination that is not permissible with other food additives without labelling.
I suggest that there are two levels of contamination
- That which may be acceptable to the consumer as offered in the above mentioned amendment, with appropriate labelling stating 'GM ingredients of less than 1% and
- Zero. Defined as no measurable contamination which need not be labelled.
However it should be made public knowledge that a) there is likely to be contamination to some degree in all foods whilst the current methods and legislation are used and b) there is intent to provide food that is contaminant free and suitable legislation shall be forthcoming to ensure manufacturers of GM products get a grip of their organisms.
Under Article 21(2) of Directive 2001/18/EC, a maximum threshold may be introduced for products where adventitious or technically unavoidable traces of authorised GMOs cannot be excluded. Similarly, Commission Regulation (EC) No 49/2000 of 10 January 2000 fixes a threshold of 1% only for authorised food produced from ingredients produced from authorised GMOs or containing such ingredients. In contrast, the maximum threshold put forward in Article 5 of the proposal applies to non-authorised products. A threshold for non-authorised GMOs and for products produced from non-authorised GMOs would undermine all the European Unions legislation on biosafety.
Already fish genes are in GE tomatoes so, as a strict vegetarian I avoid tomatoes unless they are from an accredited organic source, and even that has it's limits according to the catch all 1% above. It is of no comfort that not all tomatoes are effected or infected yet, as it is human nature to make errors in the pursuit of profit and more errors in the endeavour to make more profit. The competitiveness in the need to be richer and more powerful obviously ignores the wishes of those who have little ability to be heard. They are just stepped on and pushed aside with all the concern of a bull in a china shop.Time and time again people, and especially big businesses, show little or no regard for absolute integrity. Profit based businesses are only concerned with what a consumer will purchase, and so further 'legal', 'covert legal' and illegal contamination of foodstuffs is inevitable.
Unlike DDT, Agent Orange and other non GE pesticide contaminants GE contaminants will breed from one plant to another and in time will effect all wild examples of compatible species. Cultivated species presently rely on cross breeding with wild 'cousins' for evolution and variety.
There is also cross species contamination. A small number of cows have already been found to contain genes that although producing no obvious detriment are nonetheless sheep genes. Cross kingdom contamination already exists in the placement of animal genes into vegetation and so it just a matter of time before we experience the first 'accident' of cross kingdom transfer.
In our pursuit for person comfort and profit each of accepts that accidents will occur and sometimes these are fatal. With the exceptions of wars and plagues each of tolerates the risk of illness and death as a consequence of another's actions. However an interested party my ask for justice and compensation where a person or body can be shown to be responsible. How can multinational companies, who more financial power that many countries be held accountable not only for personal injury but global disruption of the ecosystem.
America is the only large organisation that exerts much influence but is also the main supporter of genetic dictatorship.
Whereas I am not suggesting that people should not experiment with genes and create what ever mutated life forms they so desire, I would like it to be done in absolute controlled manner, like the cultivation of the smallpox bacteria for example.
The present field trials and the actual results of wind blown and animal transported pollen do not agree. There is clear evidence that contamination does occur and can only increase with the current controls.
So not only would I like to see control undertaken with integrity but an absolute contamination level of 0% to be the only sensible legislation to be made for foodstuffs.
We cannot rely of companies like Monsanto to provide truthful or accurate information about the current contamination or future prospects as this would ruin their GM business. Note that Monsanto have recently been found guilty of the 'Worst PCB contamination in the World' . see www.monsantowatch.org.uk Add to that, that it was done in a populated area and that they hid the facts, known to them for decades, you can see that it is your 'job' to support the general pubic against such criminal activities.
No doubt you are lobbied by business, and wined and dined. I cannot persuade you to back my wishes in such a way. The majority of people want gm foods to be labelled, but labelling that does not go all the way to show that producers can separate gm ingredients from previously traditional foodstuffs is labeling that is all but useless in many situations.
But please please use your human integrity to vote, not your dependence on the temporary position of the favour you enjoy with your political party. You have always been human, not a party political cog.
Do a human thing!