Take the Harm out of Pharma and Industrial Crops

Genetically engineered crops designed for use as food carry their own concerns as detailed in Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith.  This position paper exposes the concerns surrounding the use of genetically engineered crops to produce pharmaceuticals and industrial components such as lubricating oils and enzymes for use in tanning or paper manufacturing.  These crops are grown in the open, thereby increasing risks of cross contamination with crops in the food supply and environmental concerns such as animals being exposed to these GM non-foods.

The UCS recommends a complete ban on the use of food crops for non-food purposes.  They base their reasoning on three points.  First, the economic impact on the food supply chain if contamination occurs is too great.  Secondly, any regulatory system to would be far to complex to maintain considering that the minimal oversight of GM crops today, by the USDA, is poorly conducted.  Finally, the risk assessment methods are imperfect and the risks of mistakes are simply too great.  “The emergence of harmful effects years after FDA approval of drugs demonstrates the difficulty in assessing risks.”  Given that there are alternative production methods that are enclosed and reduce contamination risk significantly, there seems to be little need to risk open methods.

I felt that this paper was very helpful in understanding issues that I did not even know existed.

This position paper was produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2006.  They provide independent scientific analysis on a wide variety of topics with the goal of scientific integrity at the foremost importance.  UCS started as a non-profit collaboration of students and professors from MIT in 1969 and today has 250,000 members.

You can find the full position paper at…

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/ucs-position-pharma-and-industrial-crops.pdf

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