Genetically Alter Foods a Big Concern

Thank you very much for printing the two-part front page story, "A War Against Techno- Food" (Chronicle, August 16-17). It was excellent. This is an extremely important and timely issue for every single person who lives in the United States. It is a subject that affects the very essence of everyone's health and the health of the environment. But, for whatever reason, there has been little information provided to inform the public about this issue in the American media.

Indeed, Americans seem unconcerned about this issue only because they have no idea. People are not aware of how much of the food they buy is from genetically manipulated sources because they are not being told. This is profoundly wrong. The agrichemical industry is denying Americans the fundamental right to choose freely what they eat and put inside their bodies.

Bravo to the British and the Europeans! Why should they allow the U.S. agrichemical industry to bully them? The interest of the powerful American agrichemical industry is to make money. Their goal in Europe, and throughout the world, is to sell a highly profitable system of genetically altered seed and agrichemical products. The Europeans, on the other hand, are rightfully concerned about a technology that has not been proven to be safe. Not for the environment, not for animals and not for humans. Indeed, as results from the recent Cornell University study on corn pollen and the Monarch butterfly larvae show, this technology is not safe. The simple fact is that these companies do not understand the long-term effects and consequences of this technology.

We Americans are fools if we are going to blindly trust the agrichemical corporations and genetic engineering companies. The pursuit of profits and earnings color every decision these companies make. That is their overriding concern, not our health. These companies should have no influence whatsoever on whether genetically engineered foods are to be grown commercially, or on what scale. It is a model example of a gross conflict of interest!

Jon Gilber Heiken
Mill Valley

(Reprint, The San Francisco Chronicle, August 1999)

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