20 May 1999

Tommy Lynch

Poison Filth

GM foods are intrinsically wrong, it's obvious, here we are on the brink of yet another BSE crisis. To say we do not yet know enough about the technology is an understatement of colossal proportions; it'll take decades! The fact that Mr Blair and the rest of the government are behind it, is not the issue. The real issue here is that we have been unwittingly eating GM produce for a while now is one step short of criminal. Growers of organic produce have their work cut out trying to keep the strain pure, as well as striving for competition for subsidies with GM producers.

In order for mankind to advance the forefront of technology, we will inevitably develop uses for warfare, in parallel with that for good. For example nuclear technology, also selective cancer cell killing proteins have come out of nerve agent development programmes. Gene mapping has helped us to isolate problem areas of DNA. This may in time lead to parents being able to order their children to order from a Huxleyesque menu of Alpha - Epsilon minuses. Very sinister.

Remember the surgeon who grafted the head of a live orang utang onto the body of another. Either groundbreaking achievement at the cutting edge of medicine or the sick product of enquiring minds, depending on your viewpoint.

We cannot 'uninvent' the nuclear bomb, or cause fire arms to cease to be, any more than we can turn around the technology which allows us to create new disease hardy crops.

What we are talking about here is making produce cheaper/more resistant, more efficient to grow. Hats off to the guys who took a gene from a snow drop and grafted it into the DNA of the humble potato in the lab. As long as that is where it stays. The technology as I understand it is to splice the gene into the strands, and then use proteins to 'switch' the gene 'on'.

Now it doesn't take a genius to realise the mouse eats the grain, eaten by the fox etc, sooner or later it'll enter the food chain.

Chemical company Mon Santo has developed a strain of oil seed rape, which is immune to their own brand of weed killer used to cleanse fields. This will have the effect of having nothing for insects to feed on, no insects, no birds.

I find it very difficult to believe that now we have politicians on our TV set telling us that this is safe. What do they know about genetics, nutrition, farming or even macrobiotics?

My mother’s cousin died of bowel cancer, a tragic waste. It seems hard to blame her death on one single factor as diet, lifestyle, heredity or stress etc. Instead we should be investigating the causes; not making more. It stands to reason that all the food we eat will at some time or other, come into contact with our bowel. We simply do not know enough about the intricacies of the make up of the miracle we call the human body, to risk experimenting with it.

Given the choice of organic, or GM foods, and the information at our disposal, the choice would be ours, the government’s actions could then be mitigated. People could then vote with their feet, (or forks even). However it seems they are doing their level best to phase GM food in alongside regular foodstuffs.

We all have to eat, food is a basic necessity after all. Virtually no labelling is required by law, supermarkets either too disinterested of uncaring to label produce. In order to seek the knowledge of what is in our food, we must be better informed, and the government is cynically relying on this public apathy.

The apathy of the general public is staggering, simply because no-one has complained, the government seems unlikely to act. We know too little to ask the questions, yet it is here already, we are in something of a Catch -22.

Why is it that they have more or less banned animal testing in the UK for products such as cosmetics, products to be worn on skin. Yet another very different kind of product, one which requires that we place it inside our bodies, ie food, by its nature living matter, can have it's very structure; its building blocks played about with. Yet there is little or no legislation in place to protect us.

Mon 16 May 1999. The British Medical association announces its condemnation of GM food.
Tuesday 17 May 1999. The government strikes back in defence, dismissing the work of Dr Arpad Pusztai. Do they really know better than a professional institution, with all the equipment their disposal, who claim they themselves do not know enough?

Imagine for a minute a vision of the future. Scaremongering perhaps, but possible. Fifteen years from now, millions of mutated people suing the government. Crowds of mutagenic twisted people, shaking uncontrollably, through a combination of rage and Parkinsonian torpor. Picketing the Houses of Parliament, clutching medical reports from their GPs. Compensation claims stretching into the multi millions. They certainly won't have the funding to do the research then. So they'd better do it now!

Tommy Lynch

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