Mixing GM Crops With Drugs, Beer A Bad Idea

Last week, I warned you about genetically modified (GM) crops interbreeding with related wild species, that may create weeds that could be immune to herbicides and insects just as immune to proteins meant to kill them. If you're as concerned about GM crops and their negative impact on your health as I am, you'll want to read two short pieces from BusinessWeek (free links below).

One describes a recent battle in Missouri between Anheuser-Busch, the world famous brewer of Budweiser, and bio-manufacturer Ventria Biosciences moving to the state to plant transgenic rice containing human genes found in breast milk, tears and sailva with the plan of converting it into food products to treat stomach disorders. Because Anheuser-Busch execs were queasy about human proteins being mixed in with their beer products, Busch threatened a boycott, prompting Ventria to move planting to North Carolina.

It's just the latest case of biotech firms using plants like rice and corn to "grow" new drugs rather than harvest them in Chinese hamster ovaries. Neither way sounds appealing, but expect the former to continue: Growing rice over traditional biotech methods is estimated to cut manufacturing costs from $125 million to $4 million. Remember, greed never stopped any company, especially the mega-phamaceuticals from developing, marketing and selling drugs, at the risk of your health.

The second article is a short interview with the Union of Concerned Scientists about the overlap of jurisdiction between the FDA and USDA regarding biotech crops, especially when it comes to drugs. Or, the lack of it.

In the meantime, I urge you to read a recent article on handy ways to spot GM foods in your grocery store in order to avoid them.

BusinessWeek Online August 1, 2005

BusinessWeek Online August 1, 2005

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