Cites for "Need Safeguards for Gene-Tinkered Foods"

OPIRG wcsbeau at superior.carleton.ca
Mon Jun 28 18:17:28 EST 1993


In article <DAVIS.93Jun28115202 at nod.bms.com> davis at nod.bms.com (Malcolm Davis) writes:
>
>In article <C97sr8.LHG at cunews.carleton.ca> wcsbeau at superior.carleton.ca (OPIRG) writes:
>
>>   In addition, Cummins sent along some other information including an
>>   example of what he called a "typical trial approval from Agriculture
>>   Canada". Condition #7 says "no alfalfa will be grown after the site
>>   for 3 years after the harvest." Condition #8 says "all volunteer
>>   plants will be destroyed before setting seed following the test",
>>   and condition #9 is "no seed or harvested plant matter will enter
>>   human or livestock food/feed chains". Cummins says that this points
>>   out that AgCan realizes the risk of gene transfers.
>
>This is an example of a wonderful no-win situation.  If AgCan were to
>not take serious precautions, people, such as Dr. Cummins, would be
>all over them for not being careful enough.  So to try to avert
>argument, AgCan sets up conditions that should be unarguably
>stringent.  The first group then points and says "Ah Ha! We told you
>this was really dangerous.  If it weren't they wouldn't have taken
>such precautions!"  The argument is fallacious.

Only if one assumes your interpretation of what Cummins is saying is
correct.  As I understand it, Cummins' point is that, if there was
absolutely no possibility of gene transfer, then the precautions would be
unncessary. Given the cost and bother involved, presumably AgCan
thinks that, small though the possibility may be, it would be wise to
take some precautions against it.

I do not, of course, speak for Dr. Cummins here. I'm just assuming
that the most reasonable interpretation of his words is what he meant.

Reid Cooper



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