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Monday, June 02, 2008


Bush seeks $770M in food help during crisis

Kareem Elgazzar

Issue date: 6/2/08 Section: News

As part of a broader $70 billion Iraq war funding measure for 2009, the Bush administration has added an aid package encouraging the use of genetically modified crops for the world's disadvantaged populations.

The Bush administration is seeking congressional approval of a $770 million food package in an effort to ease the world food crisis. If approved, the U.S. Agency for International Development would spend $150 million on development farming, which would include the use of genetically modified crops.

Genetically modified crops are produced from crops whose genetic makeup have been altered through a process called recombinant DNA, or gene splicing, to give the plant a desirable trait, according to a 2003 report in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's FDA Consumer.

Using the tools of genetic engineering allows the transfer of useful genes from one organism to a totally unrelated organism. Plants can be used, for example, to produce human proteins, such as insulin and antibodies, according to "Plants and Society," a textbook co-authored by Estelle Levetin and Karen McMahon.

"The building blocks for DNA and proteins are largely universal across organisms," said Susan Dunford, associate professor of biological sciences and instructor of a plants and people course. "As with any technology, the potential benefits, which are considerable, need to be weighed against the potential risks."

As the value or detriment of genetically modified, or bioengineered, food is ambiguous to researchers in the U.S. and Europe, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has done little research or development into the issue.

© 2008 The News Record

Poor farmers world wide can't take advantage of genetically modified crops since the modifications are meant to save time and man-power ONLY in large agri-businesses. In addition, the seeds produced by GM crops are engineered to prevent normal reproduction of the plant. That means that today's poor farmer using GM crops will have to BUY seed for next year's crops instead of simply harvesting seed as is done normally. Including GM crops in any package of food aid is like sending in a Trojan Horse filled with future hunger and/or dependence on the supplier of the GM seed (most likely, Monsanto) to those markets not currently under the control of the GM crop patent holder. Instead of helping people, the addition of a GM crops provision will actually harm them! It's time for Congress to take a long hard look at future damages that could result from this sneaky maneuver.

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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