Cites for "Need Safeguards for Gene-Tinkered Foods"

Tue Jun 29 11:00:00 EST 1993

   >>>   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.

We are forgetting what can happen when a non-engineered species is
introduced to a new environment, and the environmental damage that
can occur.  AgCan is probably at least as concerned about this
possibility as gene transfer.

Paul S.

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