Ryeview – January 2006

You are being conned – let me explain

John Clark writes…

First published: January 2006 – Gazette & Herald

The public are being conned. Let me explain. Most people in the UK don’t want to eat GM food. Opposition was so strong that public pressure made the supermarkets withdraw all foods containing GM ingredients. Many local councils, including Ryedale, have supported the campaign against GM. Since then there has been a change. Have you noticed the silence?

I believe the reason for this silence is a conspiracy. The Biotech companies have changed their approach. When they declared the ‘benefits’, the British public didn’t believe them. When the government supported GM the public had their suspicions confirmed. The result is that the Biotech companies have changed to a more discreet approach.

Firstly they said there were no plans to grow GM maize in the UK. Many people thought the threat was over. Now, GM food is entering our food chain without us being informed. It works like this:

The UK imports GM maize and soya. These are then fed to dairy cows. The milk is sold to the ‘consumer’ with no mention of GM. The purchaser does not know if the milk comes from cattle fed with GM or not. More likely in the modern agribusiness world, the GM fed milk is mixed in vast quantities with milk produced without GM ingredients.

How has this deceit been achieved? The government has been persuaded by the Biotech industry that cattle fed with GM feed will not produce milk containing GM. There is no evidence for this but the government accepted the argument (or fell for the con). Any milk producing farmer will tell you that the milk produced by cows often tastes of the food eaten by the cows. One of the best examples is garlic. In the spring, cattle love to eat the early growth of wild garlic. The milk flavour can be completely overpowered by the garlic.

The Biotech industries argument is that there is no garlic DNA in the milk i.e. there is no DNA from the GM soya or maize in the milk. This is true. If the DNA of the garlic had been genetically modified there would be very little or no garlic DNA in the milk. But the flavour of the garlic comes from the DNA of the garlic. The DNA is ‘responsible’ for the chemicals produced in the plant. If the DNA is changed then the plants chemicals are changed (the whole point of Genetic Modification). If the garlic taste is in the milk then the plants chemicals are in the milk i.e. the GM chemicals are in the milk.

The effect of the GM is therefore that the milk is changed. Consumers are drinking GM milk, unlabelled and completely unaware of the above. Equally feeding GM soya or maize to beef cattle changes the beef produced. Several of the smaller farming organisations have been lobbying some of the supermarkets to come clean. The food industry didn’t listen to us over BSE. I wonder why they are still not listening. Could money and friends in the government be something to do with it?

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