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Food Biotech is Risky Business

This article explains that insurance companies are refusing to insure genetically engineered foods. This is a good in-depth article that sheds a lot of light on the topic of liability from genetically engineered crops. One of the most revealing statements in the article comes from the chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, "Genetically modified foods are among the riskiest of all possible insurance exposures that we have today. And there's a good reason. No one company knows where this path of genetically modified foods is ultimately going to take us in terms of either human health or environmental contamination."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't even require biotech companies to notify the agency if a company is bringing out a new genetically engineered food unless the product contains a known allergen or has a significant nutrient change. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is turning a blind eye to the potential damage genetically engineered crops are posing to the environment. Further, organic crops are being contaminated by cross pollination from genetically engineered crops and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is acting like this contamination of organic crops is not even taking place.

When these three government agencies are doing such an incredibly inadequate job in regulating biotech crops, it should not be a huge surprise that the insurance companies are staying away from providing coverage for genetically engineered foods. Genetically modified foods can be found in 75 percent of processed foods
--everything from cornflakes, bread, pasta and soy sauce to ice cream and candy, making the potential reach of a class-action lawsuit far-ranging. Millions of people eat genetically modified foods every day without knowing it--because the FDA considers them "substantially equivalent" to regular foods, they're not labeled. But a recent study found that only 24 percent of Americans believe they have eaten GMO foods.

Wired December 1, 2003

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