All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an assortment of high-profile figures and policy makers are pushing for unregulated gene-editing technologies, the rollout of bio-synthetic food created in laboratories, the expanded use of patented seeds and the roll back of subsidies and support for farmers in places like India.
These neoliberal evangelists despise democracy and believe that state machinery and public money should only facilitate the ambitions of their unaccountable mega-corporations.
Corporations are jumping on the ‘sustainability’ bandwagon by undermining traditional agriculture and genuine sustainable agrifood systems and packaging this corporate takeover of food as some kind of humanitarian endeavour.
The watchdog organisation Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) notes that the European Commission has committed to a fundamental shift away from industrial agriculture. With a 50 per cent pesticide reduction target and a 25 per cent organic agriculture goal by 2030, CEO argues that business as usual is no longer an option. In effect, this creates an existential crisis for corporate seed suppliers and pesticide manufacturers like Bayer, BASF, Corteva (DowDupont) and Syngenta (ChemChina).
However, these corporations are fighting back on various fronts, not least by waging an ongoing battle to get their new generation of genetic engineering techniques excluded from European regulations. They do not want plants, animals and micro-organisms created with gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas to be subject to safety checks, monitoring or consumer labelling. This is concerning given the real dangers that these techniques pose.
For example, a new paper published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, authored by Dr Katharina Kawall, indicates the negative effects on ecosystems that can result from the release of gene-edited plants. These unintended effects come from the intended changes induced by genome editing, which can affect various metabolic processes in the plants.
The new paper adds to a growing body of peer-reviewed research that calls into question industry claims about the ‘precision’, safety and benefits of gene-edited organisms.
Recent research by the Greens and the European Free Alliance in the European Parliament indicates that 86 per cent of Europeans who have heard of genetically engineered (GE) food want products containing GE organisms to be labelled as such.