GM Potatoes Headed for Europe's Feed Stores... Fed to Farm Aminals... the Farm Aminals Then Fed to Humans!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:55pm.



The common view that Europe is free of genetically engineered foods because the people don't want them is no longer true. Europe's corporate-centered government has already granted approval to one such potato not intended for human consumption—at least, not directly, though it will be fed to feed animals

Two years ago, against public protest, BASF was given permission to market the Amflora potato, engineered for its antibiotic resistance, to use as animal feed and in manufacturing for its starch.

Then last year, again in the face of public protest, the European Commission granted BASF—Europe's answer to Monsanto—approval to start testing a genetically modified (GM) potato for human consumption. The sole benefit it offers is resistance to a fungal disease, something that exists in several natural potatoes already.

Safety will supposedly be determined by the European Food Safety Authority, based on documentation provided by BASF.

If the GM potato, named Fortuna, gets through that process, it will then be up to the European Commission (EC). Of course, as anyone who follows European politics can attest, the EC never met a corporation it didn't love.

Notice that there is no review to determine whether the Fortuna potatoes actually have the fungal resistance claimed. The fact is that we don't know—and we won't know until they've been marketed.

As anyone who has followed the GM issue-fiasco can tell you, the claims for GM crops have rarely panned out to be anywhere near expectations. Of course, that has never stopped the continuation of the claims, nor has it stopped the regulatory agencies from approving GM crops.

Approval is anticipated in about four years, 2014 or so. BASF says:

Potato farmers will be able reduce the use of fungicides dramatically. Instead of spraying 10 or 16 times per crop, the farmer will only need to spray two or three times to control fungal infections such as late blight.

Apparently, BASF is trying to rewrite reality. You would think that there are no blight-resistant potatoes out there, and that if there are, they must not be suitable for large-scale farming. But that simply isn't so.

A highly fungus-resistant variety, called the Toluca, is already available—and that's just one. A search for very high resistance to late blight of tubers on the British Potato Variety Database resulted in ten varieties, and the Toluca, with a rating of only 8 out of 9, isn't even on that list.

The fact is that there's no shortage of naturally developed potato varieties that have superb fungus resistance and are available for production in European climates and soils. There is no need for GM potatoes with that quality.

There is no legitimate reason to allow even the testing of the Fortuna GM potatoes. There is no need for the claimed benefit. Therefore, there is no legitimate reason to accept the risks inherent in genetically engineered potatoes.

The only one who stands to benefit is BASF. And that, presumably, must be the reason for the Fortuna name. It must stand for the increased fortunes BASF anticipates bringing to its owners.


November 7, 2011 - Gaia-Health


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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:55pm.