U.S. "shockingly unprepared" for GM imports - New Scientist (17/11/2005)

Seems CSIRO's lung-damaging GM peas needn't have been scrapped after all - just grown for export!

Successive U.S. admninistrations have been so keen to produce a regulatory system that suits the need of its biotech corporations that, as New Scientist points out below, absolutely any GM product can be brought into the U.S. and sold for human or animal consumption without any checks at all being mandatory.

EXCERPT: The US is shockingly unprepared. As things stand, anyone wishing to bring a GM product into the country will need to notify the authorities only if it is intended for planting on US soil. Anything else can sail though without any of the mandatory pre-marketing scrutiny demanded in Europe.
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Export as you would be exported to…
New Scientist, Issue 2526, 19 November 2005
Editorial: page 3

THE genetically modified chickens are coming home to roost. Having spent the past decade insisting that it should be free to export GM crops and foods derived from them, the US is waking up to the possibility that it may soon be asked to accept imports of similar GM material from other countries, such as China and Argentina, which are now producing more than they consume.

This month, the issues raised by this hitherto remote possibility were discussed in Washington DC at a seminar held by an independent think tank, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. The US is shockingly unprepared. As things stand, anyone wishing to bring a GM product into the country will need to notify the authorities only if it is intended for planting on US soil. Anything else can sail though without any of the mandatory pre-marketing scrutiny demanded in Europe.

Delegates had lots to discuss. How will US consumers react if foreign farmers start sending shipments of GM rice, soy and other commodities? Are new regulations needed to safeguard health and the environment? What if GM seeds intended for consumption rather than planting spill onto US soil? And what if US consumers do not want to eat foreign GM produce?

These and a host of other questions will need some adroit answers from the politicians and business people who have slammed Europe for its "irrational" aversion to GM. They will be have to tread a careful path to avoid accusations of hypocrisy once those chickens start to arrive.


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