Loc: Waterloo, NY
New York Times 2001 !!! This article is five pages long and very worth your time.
Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle
By KURT EICHENWALD, GINA KOLATA and MELODY PETERSEN - Published: January 25, 2001
A few excerpts...
Government guidelines, the executives reasoned, would reassure a public that was growing skittish about the safety of this radical new science...
It was an outcome that would be repeated, again and again, through three administrations. What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto — and, by extension, the biotechnology industry — got...
"I said to Janet, `There's a human experiment I don't want to be part of,' " Dr. Pollack said in a recent interview.
"People talked about there being species barriers — you're reorganizing nature in some way."
"I don't think they really thought through the whole darn thing," Dr. Virginia Walbot, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, said of Monsanto's decision to market products that benefited farmers rather than general consumers.
The scientists were displaying precisely the concerns that Monsanto executives from the 1980's had anticipated — and indeed had considered reasonable. But now, rather than trying to address those concerns, Monsanto, the industry and official Washington were dismissing them as the insignificant worries of the uninformed. Under the final F.D.A. policy that the White House helped usher in, the new foods would be tested only if companies did it. Labeling was ruled out as potentially misleading to the consumer, since it might suggest that there was reason for concern.
In recent months, biotechnology has been struggling with the consequences of its blunders. Leading food companies like Frito-Lay and Gerber have said they will avoid certain bioengineered food. And grain companies like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill have asked farmers to separate their genetically modified foods from their traditional ones. That, in turn, creates complex, costly and — as the Starlink fiasco shows — at times flawed logistical requirements for farmers.