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Genetically Modified Beer
A coalition of agricultural technology companies are supporting the production of beer brewed with corn that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the corn borer pest without using insecticides. The Sierra Club, an environmental watchdog group, states that "anti-GM activists fear" that the beer "could represent the thin end of the wedge."

According to the Associated Press, a coalition of technology companies, including Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, DuPont, Plant Science Sweden, Svaloef Weibull and Syngenta, are supporting production of the clearly labeled Swedish-brewed beer as a way to "gently sway consumers as European regulators slowly reopen the continent to genetically altered foods."

The AP story notes that a series of food-related health scares in Europe "have stoked fears among many Europeans about so-called GM foods." What the story fails to clearly explain is that all of the scare issues discussed are completely and totally unrelated to agricultural biotechnology.

Widespread non-science based fears concerning genetically-modified crops are a key reason why the agricultural companies are supporting the beer. As a Monsanto official explains, the beer was created because the biotech debate "never rose further than the inner circle of scientists, politicians and (nongovernment organizations). Our wish was to contribute to this situation by making an abstract discussion more concrete."

Meanwhile, NGO nihilists associated with Greenpeace have chased trucks transporting the new brew in Sweden and Denmark and have discouraged "store and tavern owners from buying the brew, when it was first introduced, and Greenpeace continues to pressure big grocery chains to avoid stocking it."

A Greenpeace spokesman states that "no GM foods are sold in Europe because consumers and retailers make a conscience [sic] choice to say ‘no' to them." The spokesman seems to have overlooked the fact that the organization is using harassment and other methods to prevent consumers and retailers from being able to make a choice regarding GM products.

Winston is not sure whether the genetically-modified beer is a good idea. However, he is more than willing to keep an open mind on the issue. Stakeholders seeking to influence Winston on this matter should send ample tasting samples to WatchDog Watch, c/o The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.

  • Click for Sierra Club Daily Scoop.
  • Click for AP story on MSNBC.

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