UK Food Group Chair asks if The Observer/Guardian is now joining the quislings, collaborating with powerful industrial interests (Monsanto etc)
John Mulholland’s hackneyed article strings together a series of ‘feed the world’ myths ‘busted’ a thousand times by reputable academics*.
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste
Working in Kamayoq in Peru at the moment, “where there is such strong defence of good food and local control”, Patrick Mulvany, chair of the UK Food Group, once more dispels these misconceptions ardently promoted by the Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer etc.
He writes to Mulholland:
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste. GM crops have almost nothing to do with productivity and produce mainly industrial commodities – animal feed, agrofuels and fibre – not food.
So, on what basis can your editor assert that GM crops will solve the problem of hunger?
As many of your readers will know, UK plc’s AgriTech business strategy, pushed by BIS and implemented by the BBSRC (the UK’s biotech science funder), is to export proprietary British technology that will deliver returns through patents and the sale of scientific know-how with biotechnological and chemical input packages of benefit to the UK – the only technologies that the UK now has expertise in, having lost most of its capacity to do research that supports real food production.
To achieve their strategy, government, the scientific establishment and agro-biotech industry need to have a testbed in a UK that permits the release of GM crops, for which, as government and retailers well know, there is no consumer demand.
Multinational corporations have their eye on controlling the world’s industrial commodity production system
Once legalised, it will also open the floodgates to US GM crops – with the collateral advantage to powerful industrial interests of easing the entry of US GM technologies into the EU.
Those who feed most people in the world, the smallholder farmers, livestock keepers, artisanal fishers and other small-scale food providers, have the solution – developed in their framework of food sovereignty – to the problem posed in your editorial.
Supporting localised food regimes will secure future food. Industrial commodity production will trash it.
From where I am here in Cuzco, Peru, a region that has legally rejected GM crops in favour of supporting local campesinos’ production of biodiverse foods produced ecologically, your editorial appears insular – the views of a little Englander – and rather farcical if there were not a darker side to it.
Is The Observer/Guardian now joining the quislings who are collaborating with powerful industrial interests, which are set to undermine and contaminate the world’s efficient, effective, biodiverse and ecological food systems, so that their proprietary technologies dominate globally?
The GMO Myths and Truths report: one of many rebuttals.
Some cheering news passed on by a wideawake reader.
As the EU Parliament Magazine confirms, the European ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros has ruled in favour of a complaint filed by Testbiotech against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), created in 2002 created to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply.
A former senior staff member at EFSA, Dr Suzy Renckens, who was head of the unit responsible for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants for five years until 2008 has moved to a job at Syngenta, a company that produces and markets these plants.
The Strasbourg-based ombudsman said “EFSA should acknowledge that it failed to observe the relevant procedural rules and to carry out a sufficiently thorough assessment of the potential conflict of interests arising from the move of a former member of its staff to a biotechnology company.”
Christoph Then, of Testbiotech had earlier been very concerned that both EFSA and the commission had rejected their original complaints, potentially putting at risk the protection of consumers and the environment.”
Others have passed through the revolving door
Olivier Hoedeman, of Corporate Europe Observatory, said, “There have been other cases of staff going through the revolving door. EFSA should look carefully at the ruling and introduce a far stricter approach to conflicts of interest in the future.
EFSA now has until 31 March to respond to the judgement of the ombudsman who has the power to table the issue in parliament.