24 september 2005

Down with Carrefour (thanks to Raymond van het Groenewoud for the title)

In it’s Sustainability Report 2004 Carrefour writes that it’s not proven that GMO’s in the long run are harmless for the environment or human health. In response Carrefour is committed to the precautionary principle; which in essence means that it doesn’t want genetically modified foods on the shelf. I’m really wondering if Carrefour is using the same principle for it’s supply of "ordinary" food. Afer all, it would have been hard to prove conclusively that they are harmless for humans or for the environment aswell. It’s not just about quality control here: making sure that all the food is fresh and things like that. No, it’s about proving that nothing you eat can harm you in any way, genetically modified or not. Carrefour sells alcohol, it sells cigarettes: are they harmless? No? So why no precautionary principle here? If consumers are considered to be well informed enough to make the right choices in these cases then why is this not so with gmo’s? Some people are allergic to some foods: why are those foods still on the shelves? And in fact every kind of vegetable is a little poisenous for people. Granted, not enough to become really harmfull, but they are not proven harmless either. In fact by genetically changing some plants they become less harmfull for people. Bananas could not be eaten by humans once, but they underwent some genetic modification (naturally) so they can be eaten now. So if genetic modification is the real reason there should not be bananas on the shelves (and a lot of other foods). So this is not the reason: it’s because humans made the modification. I really deplore Carrefour for doing this. It’s unscientific, irrational, giving in to pressure groups who don’t represent anyone and it leads to less choice for consumers. And i doubt it will be good for the environment or human health. Especially in the long run.

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