No consumers allowed at biotech industry's secret 'GMO consumer benefit'

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GMO consumer benefit, biotech industry, secret meetings

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(NaturalNews) The biotechnology industry has proven that it will stop at nothing to get genetically engineered foods into Europe, even if this means holding secret meetings with politicians and policymakers to scheme ways to thrust the technology onto an unwilling public. The independent research group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reports that a consortium of pro-GMO lobbyists recently met undercover in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the "consumer benefits of GMOs," a meeting which not a single consumer was invited to or present at.

Organized under the banner of EuropaBio, a pro-GMO lobbying organization based in Europe, the stealth event was not included on the group's official calendar, nor was any information about it posted online or made public. CEO only found out about it after stumbling upon a website run by industry consultant Patrick Moore, one of the event's speakers and a self-proclaimed former Greenpeace member who is now an adamant supporter of all things GMO.

Moore, who has outlandishly accused those who oppose genetically modified (GM) "Golden Rice" of being responsible for the deaths of 8 million children, joined several members of the European Parliament, representatives from Big Biotech and others in advocating for more widespread public acceptance of GMOs. All members of the public were excluded from the talk, which EuropaBio now oddly claims was meant to initiate conversation with the European public.

"On 22 January EuropaBio -- the biotech lobby hub -- organised an event to 'explain the consumer benefits of GMOs,'" explains CEO on its website. "But no consumer could possibly have learned about it: the event was confidential and no consumer group had been invited."

CEO refused entry to private biotech meeting hawking GMOs

For an initiative supposedly aimed at "stepping up" engagement with the European public, EuropaBio's handling of the guest list sure runs counter to this claim. After learning about the meeting, which featured pro-GMO propaganda by UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, FoodDrinkEurope's Mella Frewen and EU Commission Director General for Health and Consumers Paola Testori Coggi, CEO attempted to register for it, only to be removed a few days afterward.

"Consumers (and NGOs in general) were neither represented nor invited: BEUC, the largest consumer organisation federation in Brussels, confirmed to CEO they had not been invited and so did EUROCOOP," adds CEO. "CEO actually managed to register but the confirmation was withdrawn by EuropaBio a few days later."

Based on the actual participation and attendance lists, it becomes clear for whom the meeting was actually designed: the movers and shakers in both government and industry with a bent toward biotechnology. All in all, 15 speakers and 144 participants attended the meeting, and all of them favored GMOs. Representatives from embassies, agribusiness companies, drug companies, consulting and lobbying firms, and the European Commission essentially came together to devise ways to manipulate the European public into accepting GMOs.

"[T]here is no consumer benefit whatsoever in GM soy or maize [corn] for animal feed, resistant to herbicide and/or producing its own insecticides," says CEO, countering spurious claims made by UK Environment Secretary Paterson about animal feed, the only major source of GMOs currently entering the European food market. "Factory farmed meat using GM feed might be the very cheapest to produce, which some consumers might value if this price difference was passed on to them, but an internalisation of the true costs of cheap meat to society at large would change that picture entirely."

These true costs include things like the massive rise in antibiotic resistance, a situation that the UK's Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies last year called an "apocalyptic threat" to humanity. There is also considerable scientific evidence demonstrating the many other adverse impacts of GMOs both environmentally and with regard to human health, which is copiously documented on GMO Free USA's "GMO SCIENCE" page:

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