Gerber baby foods announced that it will no longer use “genetically
engineered” grains in its baby food. Why? Greenpeace. Gerber received an
e-mail from Greenpeace suggesting that there may be adverse health
consequences to the babies who eat products made from genetically
engineered food stuffs.
The Environmental Working Group released a so-called “study” last
week, claiming that “dangerously high” levels of atrazine in tap water
threaten 796 Midwest cities.
The green blackmailers are at it again.
Fear drives public policy and public action, and environmental
organizations are masters at using fear to do both. Greenpeace
co-founder, Paul Watson, told Forbes magazine a few years ago, that “it
doesn’t matter what’s true; what matters is what people believe
is true.” This is the strategy being used to instill fear into the
people of the Midwest, and into Gerber’s management.
It doesn’t matter to the green blackmail artists that genetically
engineered food and medicine products are largely responsible for the
dramatic increase in life expectancy in an overall healthier population.
It doesn’t matter that genetic and bio-engineering has doubled the food
supply while using less land. What matters is making people “believe”
there might be a risk in order to advance their own agendas.
The apple industry was devastated when CBS aired a claim made by the
Natural Resources Defense Council that alar contained “deadly”
chemicals. After the damage was done, science proved that the claim was
baseless. Times Beach, Mo., was completely evacuated because of
unfounded fears about dioxin levels. After the damage was done, the man
who ordered the evacuation admitted that the entire exercise had been
Wake up, Gerber. You’re being had. Listen, little towns throughout
the Midwest, don’t leap before you look.
Gerber’s premature leap to eliminate genetically engineered food
products could start an avalanche of chaos in an already depressed farm
community. Should other food processors be intimidated by the likes of
Greenpeace and the Environmental Working Group, it will embolden the
green blackmailers and create turmoil in the markets — unnecessarily.
Nowhere in the world are food products more carefully scrutinized,
analyzed, studied and regulated. Federal agencies are far more critical
than common sense demands. Why should anyone listen to Greenpeace or to
the Environmental Working Group as the basis for policy actions? Their
expertise lies in fund-raising and hysteria.
The atrazine scare raised by the recent “study” by the Environmental
Working Group is nothing new. In 1994 a major effort was raised by
green blackmailers to ban atrazine,
and all organochlorines. Their “study” cites “dangerously high” levels.
What are those levels? And if they are dangerous, they are already
illegal and remedies are already available.
The atrazine standard proposed in 1994 was 3 parts per billion in tap
water. Michael J. Pompili, then an official in the city of Columbus,
Ohio, compared the standard to half an aspirin tablet dissolved in a
16,000 gallon railroad tank car. Another way to comprehend this standard
is to imagine spending $1000 each day, seven days a week, for 274 years,
then finding three single dollar bills from what has been spent.
Within the legal standard, the Environmental Working Group fans the
flames of fear by suggesting “dangerously high” levels of atrazine.
Greenpeace, too, is a part of the green blackmail crowd’s ongoing
effort to ban atrazine and organochemicals. Their effort, five years
ago, fizzled; so it’s about time to crank it up again. No doubt we’ll
see the old Louis J. Guillette study which suggested that alligators in
a Florida lake have shriveled penises because of organochlorines in the
water. He told a congressional committee that “every man in this room is
half the man his grandfather was.” Is that a scare tactic, or what?
What is most frightening, is the possibility of premature policy
actions being taken as the result of fear, rather than on the basis of
sound scientific fact. In Peru, Columbia and Ecuador, not a single case
of cholera had been reported this century, until 1991. Health officials
there believed the hysteria about organochlorines and removed chlorine
from their drinking water supplies. The Massachusetts Medical Society,
which publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that as of
January 1994, 941,804 cases of cholera, and 8,622 deaths had been
recorded. Health officials restored the use of chlorine — after the
damage was done.
If Gerber sticks with its premature decision to yield to the green
blackmailers, instead of insisting on sound scientific evidence, they
will be setting a precedent that could turn back years of progress
toward meeting the world’s growing food demand. Genetic engineering is
an infant science, on the threshold of discovery. Herein lies promise
for solutions to problems that will not even be discovered for decades.
Fear is justification for caution, not for regression. There are many
unanswered questions in the field of genetic engineering that must, and
will, be answered. Those answers must come from solid scientific
research, not from the likes of Greenpeace or the Environmental Working
Group, or any of the other green blackmailers who use the media to move
their own agendas.