Mean Genes

The Biotech Revolution Is Sneaking Up On The Unsuspecting American Consumer.
By Stephen White

"Don't be VERY afraid!"

--The Fly

I HAVE ACQUIRED the habit of just shrugging off the nutty, greedy, dangerous things Corporate America and "science" mess with all the time. I mean, one sort of has to, you know?

But if you want to know, like I did, what Greenpeace has been going nuts over recently this is it:

The big "biotech" corporations of America like Monsanto have been force-feeding us genetically engineered food without our knowledge or consent.

Right now, in your grocery store, in your 'fridge, in your baby food and spaghetti sauce and in your face are potentially dangerous, genetically manipulated foodstuffs carrying the threat of disease. Twisted, altered and mutated beyond recognition on the level of their most delicate DNA, these test-tube time bombs perch malevolently on your market shelf masquerading as normal vegetables, normal fruits, canola oil, dairy products, corn, soy and more. But they are not normal, they are not safe--and they are not labeled.

The megabuck companies who make this stuff have waged not one but two hard fought court battles to keep from having to label their genetically engineered foodstuffs in any way whatsoever.

They're afraid if you're able to exercise your American right to choose, you may decline to purchase their product. And, therefore, they've decided in their board rooms that you shall not have this option.

These deeply unethical companies are the very same ones who brought us Thalidomide, Agent Orange, Dioxin, D.D.T. and any number of other wildly toxic products that have gotten less press.

In 1989 the biotech industry took a natural food supplement called tryptophan and figured a way to make it cheaper and faster by using genetically engineered bacteria in its manufacture. They threw it on the market unlabeled and untested--just like they're doing now. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asleep as usual, said "no problemo"--just like they're doing now.

Before the biotech industry's intrusion, tryptophan had never hurt a fly. Yet this genetically engineered "stuff" killed 37 Americans, permanently disabled 1,500 others and made 5,000 others very sick.

Recently, John Fagin, an internationally recognized molecular biologist and former genetic engineer from Fairfield, Iowa, made a stand. He bluntly returned a $600,000 biogenetic research grant to the U.S. government and started yelling "Rat." I hope he keeps on yelling loud and clear. After speaking with him, I'm convinced of his credibility and the urgency of his stand.

"Biotech" really means Monsanto, DuPont, Dekalb, Ciba-Geigy, Agritope, Calgene, Mycogen, Sandoz/Northrop King, Aasgrow, Plant Genetic Systems and others who are messing with this stuff. They are injecting genes from human beings into pigs, from fish into fruit, from insects into soybeans and from bacteria and viruses into corn.

If this genetic food is so great, so safe and wonderful for us and our environment, why not label it big and proud and bold? Why hide it?

So what is "genetic engineering?" Simply put it's this: Biotech employees in white lab coats hack directly into the DNA of, say, a fish. (DNA is the delicate, foundational "genetic blueprint" in all living organisms). Once "in" they gouge out a hunk of fish gene, inject it into the DNA of a completely different species, close their eyes and hope for the best. Cool, huh?

"Nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public," said old P.T. Barnum. Biotech and big business are counting on that. They always do. They claim, falsely, they will "save the economy" with a contrivance called "the agridollar." They have facts, figures, glossy brochures, glossy lawyers and beatific smiles. The real question is: Have we all learned nothing in the last 30 years?

Shall we stop them this time, friends? Shall we beat their brains out in court? Sue them for damages, sue them for conspiracy to defraud, sue them for anything and everything we can think of until they stop and stop for good? We'd better, before it's too late.

Personally I want genetically engineered foods and anything containing genetically engineered food ingredients banned. But, hey, I'll settle for labels.

For more information, contact: The American Campaign To Ban Genetically Engineered Foods, P.O. Box 1177, Fairfield, Iowa 52556. Phone (515) 472-2809. FAX (515) 472-1830. TW

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