International Biotech Treaty
- Sat, 7 Feb 2004
Patricia Dines <PDines@...>
Sierra magazine Jan/Feb 2004 p13
A Better Way
Biosafety Takes Root
The Bush administration has berated the European Union as "Luddite" and
"antiscientific" for raising concerns about genetically modified organisms,
but it's actually the United States that's not keeping up with the times.
In September, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety went into effect, with
the backing of 57 nations and the European Community. The landmark
agreement sets up disclosure standards for exporters and allows nations to
reject biotech shipments from other signatory countries. Genes from
bioengineered crops can mix with other plants, a process that could disrupt
ecosystems by introducing varieties invulnerable to pests and herbicides.
Genetically modified food may also plague humans with new allergens and
make antibiotics less effective, though studies of these problems remain
The Cartagena treaty covers genetically modified seeds, animals, and crops,
but not processed food made from the same sources, an exclusion made under
pressure by the United States-a major biotech exporter-and its allies
Canada, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Despite the concession,
the United States has not signed the protocol. -Jennifer Hattam
ALSO NOTE: More about biotech at http://www.sierraclub.org/biotech/
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