EUROPEAN UNION MAY BAN GM FOODS
The European Union may ban genetically modified (GM) foods. GM crops
contain genes from other organisms. These genes might give a crop the ability
to produce its own insecticide, for example, or the ability to withstand
freezing. European consumer advocate groups have spoken out against the
safety of GM foods, saying they are inadequately tested on people and may
impact the environment.
Scientists say, however, that the process is safe. Industry
scientists say Bt breaks down in days to harmless amino acids. In the
case of the Bt gene, the entire gene sequence is known.
To make Bt corn, a Bt gene is extracted from the bacteria
in which it occurs naturally. The Bt gene is linked to a common antibiotic
resistance gene, and then this combination is inserted into the corn.
The corn now has the Bt gene.
American farmers planted 50% of their corn and soy fields
with GM seeds last year. Most processed foods contain GM soy or corn ingredients.
A European ban will greatly affect American farmers.
As yet, Americans are accepting GM ingredients in their
foods but are starting to demand more labelling. At present, foods containing
ingredients from GM crops in the U.S. do not need special labels.