International Battle Over GM Food Continues

In other genetic modification news, skirmishes over the safety and labeling of GM foods are erupting this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as delegates from around the world convene to discuss the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The U.N. accord, which went into force last September, governs cross-border trade in GM foods, with strict requirements on shipment labeling and legal liability. The U.S., by far the world’s largest producer of GM crops, has refused to sign the protocol and has appealed to the World Trade Organization to take action against European countries with extremely restrictive import controls on GM food. U.S. intransigence on labeling was among the targets of a report from Friends of the Earth, which claimed that after 10 years, GM food has not proven safer or cheaper than ordinary crops and has not solved hunger problems even in countries where it is common. Meanwhile, GM opponents were dismayed at the announcement on Monday that China will allow imports of GM crops.