Archived news articles - 2006

Straits Times Forum Letter - 25th May 2006

GM foods should be labelled clearly

THE report '20 GM products get green light for sale here' (ST, May 19) says there is still no international consensus on the safety of Genetically Modified foods.

Americans are the biggest producer of GM products and the GM lobby is very strong in the US. It's not surprising the Americans claim that GM foods are safe. The Europeans with a weaker GM lobby are more hesitant because the long-term effects are still unknown. It's good that our Genetic Modification Advisory Committee is evaluating GM foods entering Singapore. But I am dismayed on the reasons why GM foods are not labelled in Singapore. The long-term effects of GM foods remain unknown, so they should be labelled. Waiting for an international consensus before making a decision is irresponsible. It may be difficult to ascertain whether some processed foods contain GM ingredients. But this is precisely the ploy of the GM industry. Our authorities should be more forceful and pro-active in protecting consumers' health. Laws should be passed to make producers be more transparent in food labelling. Consumers should also be educated. Without labelling GM foods, the authorities have fallen into the trap set by the GM industry. The consumers are the losers; they are not given the chance to choose.

Dr Ooi Can Seng
Copenhagen, Denmark

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