The decision by the United Kingdom's government to allow GM maize to be fed to animals is another example of London's kowtowing to Washington.
The United States of America is lobbying for Genetically Modified crops to be introduced into Europe, with the US giant Monsanto set to be the big winner.
The decision taken on Tuesday by the British Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, will surprise nobody, since London these days is more like an outpost of Washington's policy, an obedient sergeant directed by his Captain. Under the decision, Genetically Modified maize can be fed to animals and meat or milk from these will be placed on supermarket shelves on condition that they are labelled.
This decision was taken by a government that knows about the unpopularity of the decision: in the Minutes from the Cabinet Office Ministerial Sub-Committee on Biotechnology (SCI(BIO)) em 10 de Fevereiro de 2004, Margaret Beckett said that "the public wanted more information".
That the British government can give the go-ahead without general public consent is another example of the loss of touch with reality that besets all governments once they have been in power for too long. Firstly, the question of the possible contamination of conventional crops by GM products has not
been dispelled. If this is the case, it would be ruinous to organic farmers and would not guarantee to the public that the food they eat is not genetically modified.
Secondly, definitive investigations still have to be made into the claims that GM food is dangerous, because if chemicals from GM crops enter the human food chain without us knowing the full effects, health risks may occur. Recently, in the Philippines, the local population living near a GM facility complained that the pollen from the GM maize provoked fever,
respiratory failure, intestinal ailments and skin lesions.
Why then does the British government want to press ahead? In May, 2003, the United States of America, Canada and Argentina lodged a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization about the moratorium on GM crops and food in the European Union. On 23rd June, President Bush attacked the EU, claiming that "artifical obstacles" prevented many developing nations from investing in GM food. On 29th June, 2003, the USA punished Egypt for not backing its complaint with the WTO about GM food by suspending free trade talks with Cairo.
It is all there - the cajoling, the skulduggery, the bullying. The reason: a company called Monsanto, full address Monsanto Company, 800 North Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO-63167, (314) 694-1000 USA. Would it be out of pace to assume that Monsanto belongs to the clique of companies which gravitate around the White House, dictating the policy of the Bush regime?