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Greenpeace Theme: We Starve The World
The UK recently approved Genetically Engineered maize (corn to Americans) for commercial planting, but under conditions that make it impossible as a practical matter. Bayer CropScience, the only company authorized to grow GE corn, withdrew its application after the UK action because the new Government conditions make GE corn economically non-viable. Other companies are reluctant for the same reasons to enter the GE food market in the UK. In fact, there is no GE food market in the UK. At the same time it "approved" corn, the UK disapproved GE sugar beet and oilseed rape. Greenpeace is taking public credit for this dubious achievement, which is the latest example of the ignorant fear of biotechnology that caused African governments last year to withhold stored, safe GE corn from starving children during a famine.

The United States has a pending WTO case against the European Union. The US complaint challenges the EU's unofficial moratorium on GE crop approvals, claiming that US farmers are losing $300 million a year in sales. The EU hopes to moot the US complaint by soon approving two GE corn varieties, one by Syngenta and another by Monsanto. Meanwhile, The US Government is considering challenging the EU labeling and traceability requirements. Like the UK approval, the strings attached to any EU approval could effectively preclude sale of the GE products in the EU. History shows that African, South Asian and other countries often follow the EU's lead on GE food issues.

Winston appreciates the need for careful regulation of all GE products. However, a conservatively estimated 25,000 people a day die from starvation. Most of them are children. GE foods could significantly reduce this number and give a lot of kids a chance to live. If Greenpeace has its way, we may never know.

  • Click for Greenpeace statement on UK GE corn decision
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