July 23, 2010

War Era Food Posters Exhibit

A fascinating exhibit of posters from the National Agricultural Library:
When Beans Were Bullets is available online with its physical version at the National Agricultural Library, Maryland, June 21 to August 30, 2010.

July 8, 2010

label genetically engineered food cause we are what we eat

In May of 2011 Codex meets in Quebec and labeling is still very alive on the table: "The federal policy on labelling foods derived from biotechnology remains under discussion with Canadians and international standards organizations such as Codex Alimentarius", Health Canada states. In fact at the Codex meeting this spring a significant Canadian retreat from the overt backing of the US position that GE food is substantially equivalent, was evident. No wonder ...its become clear that is both incorrect and only a piece of the problematic puzzle. We have 10 months to think about, talk, coalesce our strategies and ensure we get mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods established next year in Canada.

Keep an eye on CBAN to help their ongoing campaign, which targets the pressuring of Health Canada.

But I think plural is best (strategieS) the debate must reach wider than the issues of toxicity and oontamination/transgene pollution to include the freedom of choice to live morally, a conscientious or religious objection.

It is amazing to me that this has never been challenged as a Charter issue, its not as if people aren't writing about it for eg. Could we mount a campaign that encompasses all of us who understand life has deep complexity, mystery, organization to engage in devotion and service to the sanctity of life one should be free to not eat transgenic, engineered food. Could we motivate spiritual communities to proclaim and demand that? the Council of Churches, Buddhist Sangas, Indigenous Councils, Muslim , Jew, Hindu, Pagan Urban dwellers and small lesbian farmers? I think so!

My brain today has been offering up quotes from sunday school lessons a very long time ago:

I am the bread of life

By the fruits shall ye know them

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It was in the beginning with God. All things were made through it and without it was not any thing made that was made.

Labeling GMOs closer: "Substantial Equivalence" faltering

From CBAN Press release

Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated
May 12, 2010

Canada at the UN Codex meeting on GM food labeling: Negotiations continue, U.S. increasingly isolated

Your actions worked – again!

Thanks to your letters, the Canadian government delegation to the UN
Codex meeting last week did not boldly ally itself with the U.S.
position against GM food labeling. The U.S. failed in their attempts
to stop the negotiations.

The Canadian government did not speak up to support the nonsensical
position from the U.S. that GM foods are no different from foods
produced through conventional methods. Though not yet actively
supporting a positive position on GM labeling, Canada did not obstruct
the meeting and the U.S. was not able to put an end to the
negotiations. Out of the over 50 countries at the negotiations, the
U.S. was only supported in its position by Mexico, Costa Rica, and

Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. was trying to put an end to the UN Codex negotiations on GM
labeling but the negotiations will continue. There will be an
important Codex meeting in May 2011 in Quebec City – and we must
continue to pressure the Minister of Health. The Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) will continue to take action and
monitor this issue, as well as collaborate with U.S. groups. Please
see below from Consumers Union in the U.S.

For updates and more information: Cban

moral principles of informed consent

Thus far, the moral debate concerning genetically modified foods (GMF) has focused on extrinsic consequentialist questions about the health effects, environmental impacts, and economic benefits of such foods. This extrinsic approach to the morality of GMF is dependent on unsubstantiated empirical claims and fails to account for the intrinsic moral value of food and food choice and their connection to the agent's concept of the goodlife. I develop a set of objections to GMF grounded in the concept of integrity and maintain that food and food choice can be intimately connected to the agent's personal integrity. I argue that due to the constitution of GMF and the manner in which they are produced, such foods are incompatible with the fundamental values and integrity of certain individual moral agents or groups. I identify three types of integrity that are threatened by GMF: religious, consumer, and integrity based on certain other moral or metaphysical grounds. I maintain that these types of integrity are sufficiently important to provide justification for political and societal actions to protect the interests of those affected. I conclude by proposing specific steps for handling GMF consistent with the moral principles of informed consent, non-maleficence, and respect for the integrity of all members of society. They include mandatory labeling of GMF, the implementation of a system for control and regulations concerning such foods, and guaranteed provision of conventional foods.

Assya Pascalev
You Are What You Eat: Genetically Modified Foods, Integrity, and Society;
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

The EU recognises the consumers' right to information and labelling as a tool for making an informed choice. Since 1997 Community legislation has made labelling of GM food mandatory for foods containing or are derived from GMO.

Canadians should not let up their demands to provide consumers their birthright as Canadians, protected in our charter. We have the right to choose the foods that are morally. spiritually and ethically acceptable to us. It is our responsibility to ensure the unobstructed enjoyment of these rights.

July 7, 2010

negative results

Quite the Journal title I tripped into the other day:

Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine
. I'll look to see if there is an Agricultural Biotech equivalent. Oughta be

July 3, 2010

a good market...

I love a good market. The crowd is full on and happy, the sun is shining and the plump lush piles of vegetables disappear in record time. After the rush I set back up quickly, in those sweet slower intervals, when conversation is possible. Until its inundation again: the pyramid of bagged peas and fluffy basil, the romaine towers, the glistening organized carrots...everything attacked lovingly and whisked away leaving a tablecloth to cover in bounty again. Then that last lonely dill bunch or radicchio hit the road and the wallet is plump. Tuck away the cash box, tidy up all the empty lugs, and go visit with happy people.