Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Codex Alimentarius and GM Food Guidelines, Pt. 9

Updated excerpt from Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom 
Available Here

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In my last article entitled, “Codex Alimentarius and GM Food Guidelines Pt.8”, I detailed the Codex Alimentarius position regarding Genetically Modified (GM) Micro-Organisms. Similarly, in several of the articles I have written recently, I have also discussed the Codex position on GM plants and other GM organisms.

Yet, no analysis of the Codex Alimentarius positions on GM food and/or organisms would be complete without a discussion of the Codex position on GM animals.

Indeed, the “Guideline For The Conduct Of Food Safety Assessment Of Foods Derived From Recombinant-DNA Animals,” a subsection of the Codex document “Foods Derived From Modern Biotechnology,” is as interesting for the concerns that it does not address as for the ones that it does. Largely a copied and pasted version of the two sections before it, (“Guideline for the conduct of food safety assessment of foods derived from recombinant-dna plants” and “Guideline for the conduct of food safety assessment Of foods produced using recombinant-dna micro-organisms”) the GM animal Guidelines does not address some very key issues such as:

1.) Animal welfare
2.) Ethical, moral and socio-economic aspects
3.) Environmental risks related to the environmental release of recombinant-DNA animals used in food production
4.) The safety of recombinant-DNA animals used as feed, or the safety of animals fed with feed derived from recombinant-DNA animals, plants and micro-organisms.[1]

As can be easily seen, these issues are extremely important in their own right. Just the moral issues, in addition to the hazards of the potential of GM animals being released into the environment, are enough to fill volumes. However, Codex chooses not to deal with these issues in its Guidelines.


With that being said, because Codex treats GM animals essentially the same as GM plants, there is very little difference in the guidelines. This shows a lack of scientific zeal as animals are fundamentally different than plants.

Yet one area where Codex does address a different aspect of the GM safety question is related to veterinary drug residues. It says,
Some recombinant-DNA animals may exhibit traits that may result in the potential for altered accumulation or distribution of xenobiotics (e.g. veterinary drug residues, metals), which may affect food safety. Similarly, the potential for altered colonization by and shedding of human pathogens or new symbiosis with toxin-producing organisms in the recombinant-DNA animal could have an effect on food safety.[2]
With its implicit admission of the instability of modified genes, Codex now also admits that these genes, when changed in animals, could affect the distribution and retention of veterinary drugs and other substances which would necessarily change the content of the food product derived from that animal. As Codex states, this same situation could also apply to human pathogens as well as veterinary drugs.

As a side note, it appears that 2007-2008 was a very beneficial year for GMO food producers. Not only were the pro-GM testing Guidelines approved by Codex, but many countries, such as the European Union who had been opposed to the introduction of GM food up to this point, began changing their position to one that was slightly more open to GMO.

For instance, in 2008, Codex Alimentarius approved Guidelines that would allow low levels of GM products that have not been approved by the countries’ regulatory agencies inside products that are imported into the country. This would include products like grain, corn, and oats. Codex claims that this set of standards merely recognizes the fact that GM products will inadvertently mix with non-GM products during processing and transportation and that it means to provide guidance in this unavoidable situation.[3]

However, this presupposes that GM contamination of food shipments is unavoidable when in fact just the opposite is the case. If GM products were not used to begin with, the entire issue would not need to be addressed.

Also, if countries that did not approve of GM products would simply refuse to import them if they were contaminated with one single GM organism, then the fact that the majority of people do not want GM food would be driven home. This would be a great move for both the exporting and importing countries in that GM would be made economically unfeasible as well as forcing the importing country to produce their own food. It may come as a surprise to many that these Guidelines were approved with the consent of the European Union, the very state that has voiced much dissent to GM products in the past. This is a clear signal that the European Union, now that is has become even more integrated than it was when the GM debate first appeared, is preparing to accept GM food on the level of the United States in the future.

While these Guidelines only apply to GM contamination of imported food, the European Union’s own guidelines have become much more relaxed in relation to GM food production within its borders. It is here that the various European countries are experiencing the tyranny of being a member of a European super-state that undermines their national sovereignty.

In March 2010, against the objections of countries such as Italy and Austria, the European Union’s European Commission approved an antibiotic resistant genetically modified potato.[4]

These countries who, before joining the EU, would have had complete authority to block the importation and production of GM material now must defer to the EU court and commission system that are clearly undemocratic and unconcerned with the safety of the European people.

This is the same situation that occurred in 1998 when the European Union approved the MON810 strain of GM maize developed by Monsanto against the protest of several EU states.

Subsequently, several member nations banned the cultivation of the maize which now pits them against the European Commission in an ongoing battle for national sovereignty.[5]

However, sovereignty is not likely to win out.

In 2007, the European Court of Justice overturned Austria’s ban on cultivation of GMO’s even though Austria has the broad support of its people and other nations.

The court also ruled that individual countries had no right to deny farmers the ability to grow GM crops that the EU had previously approved. This ruling has effectively removed Austria’s total cultivation ban. While many other Austrian regulations are in place that will make it a little more difficult for GMO production than in other countries, the European Commission and Courts will likely continue to chip away at them little by little.[6]

India has also relaxed its opposition to GM foods as evidenced, also in 2007, by the fact that the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests announced that organisms that are not living (living being defined as an organism capable of replication) will now be exempt from the existing approval processes. This effectively allowed all “non-living organisms” into India without any testing at all. This applied to a wide range of products such as those containing GM corn or soy.[7]

It should also be mentioned that as of January 2009, the FDA has announced that labeling of GM food animals is not required at the consumer level.

While GM animals are required to be labeled while alive, when the animals reach the food stage, the labeling requirements disappear. GM animals are only required to be labeled at the food stage when there appears to be a substantial difference in the food product.[8]

However, it should be remembered that, because the FDA works on an even more relaxed version of substantial equivalence than Codex, it is already assumed that these foods will not be significantly different from a conventional counterpart.

Thus, we have unfettered access of GM animal food products to the food supply with no way for the consumer to determine whether or not the product he/she is eating has been genetically modified – a step which the FDA and Codex Alimentarius have both worked so hard to reach in the past.


Notes: 
[1] “Foods Derived From Modern Biotechnology,” 2nd edition. Codex Alimentarius. P. 57. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/011/a1554e/a1554e00.pdf Accessed May 24, 2010.
[2] Ibid. p.71
[3] “Codex Alimentarius Commission: New Standards, old concerns,” July 14, 2008. http://www.freshplaza.com/print.asp?id=25392
[4] Hickman, Martin; Roberts, Genevieve. “Fury as EU approves GM potato.” The Independent. March 4, 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/fury-as-eu-approves-gm-potato-1915833.html
[5]“EU food authorities say genetically modified maize is safe.” AFP. June 30, 2009. http://www.france24.com/en/20090630-eu-food-authorities-say-genetically-modified-maize-safe- Accessed May 24, 2010.
[6] “Further ‘Rubberstamp’ GMO Approvals In The Pipeline In Europe.” Bridges Trade BioRes October 5, 2007. Vol. 7 No. 17. http://ictsd.org/i/news/biores/60002/ Accessed May 24, 2010.
[7] “India Fast-Tracks Imports Of Non-Living GM Material.” Bridges Trade BioRes October 5, 2007. Vol. 7 No. 17. http://ictsd.org/i/news/biores/59999/ Accessed May 24, 2010.
[8] Reinberg, Steven. “FDA Issues Final Regulations for Geneticially Engineered Animals.” US News And World Report. January 15, 2009. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/policy/articles/2009/01/15/fda-issues-final-regulations-for-genetically.html Accessed May 24, 2010.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 200 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

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1 comment:

LadyRavenhaire said...

Thank you, Brandon. This information is so invaluable. I don't know where Americans have their heads between. 8 year old girls with breasts, 20% of the population dying before age 50, and nearly 30% of the population obese. Doesn't this population see a link? I guess they are too busy watching TV to care.

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