Archived news articles - 2008

The Straits Times (Forum), 9 April 2008

Don't be too quick to endorse GM foods

In his letter, 'All food here, including GM food, safe to eat: AVA' (March 25), Mr Goh Shih Yong of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) declared that 'the international consensus is that GM food is safe for consumption'.

Where is this 'consensus'?

A search for 'GM foods' on the Internet will find reports, complete with scientific references, detailing the dangers and potential dangers of genetically modified foods.

You will also find pleas by scientists and other concerned persons calling on governments to stop the use of GM foods.

Most Europeans countries, significant sections of the American public and a good number of scientists all over the world are not in favour of GM foods.

Let's not be too quick to endorse these strange new foods.

Instead, let us learn from the experience of trans fats which, more than 30 years ago, was deemed by 'international consensus' to be not only safe but also healthy.

Today, trans fats have been found to be extremely harmful. But the damage has already been done.

Millions of people have developed degenerative diseases and died from eating margarine and other artificial foods containing high levels of trans fats. And trans fats have become so deeply entrenched in the food chain that it has become extremely troublesome and costly to remove.

The other question is whether consumers have a right to know what they are eating.

Consumers should be encouraged to read food labels, rather than be presented with a situation where food labels offer no pertinent information.

Richard Seah Siew Sai

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