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GMOs: A State Secret? – or State Secrecy? October 2005

Monday 29 January 2007

In fact, it is the code of silence that is prevailing. Why? On account of the advertisers’ influence, who have the press by the throat and even more so, when the press is actually owned by the industrialists themselves. But this is not a sufficient explanation. Television has lost its independence from the Government who bans certain pieces of news. The political grip is certainly increasing. But it still doesn’t explain the scale of the phenomenon. 

So do we need to think that journalists have been convinced of the soundness of GMOs? For some of them, it is probably the case, thanks to the huge communication efforts on part of the seed manufacturers. 

But it is  obviously not the case for all of them. So why? Probably because many consider that the fight against GMOs is lost, and it is quite true that the seed manufacturers have won several rounds: 
  • The Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice decision forbidding Austria to refuse GMOs
  • The secret growing of 1000 ha of GMOs in France 
  • The favourable stance of the Commission in relation to GMOs
  • The use of the fight against certain diseases to legitimate GMOs… And so on and so forth… 
But it is also because those in the press who really want to inform us can no longer do so, since the future of GMOs depends specifically on these studies. 

If, in fact, independent experts were to analyse these first results, they would demand that the studies should to be conducted again by public bodies, then the question of the health impact of GMOs would be clearly posed. 

Will also be questioned the liability and responsibility of all those experts and decision-makers outside manufacturers themselves, who impose GMOs on European citizens when they don’t want them. This is the reason why the fight is so hard. 

The same happened for those who were demanding a real contradictory scientific debate between 1906 and 1930 on asbestos. They came up against the Official Science and the politicians – whereas as early as 1919 some insurance companies in the United-States and Great-Britain already were no longer covering the risks of firms producing asbestos. 

The same thing is happening all over again! It is “urgent” to forbid the debate on the health effects of GMOs. But if the use of asbestos was reversible, as opposed to its consequences on the health of the people affected – the use of GMOs won’t be, thus there is an increased responsibility and liability on the part of the decision-makers.

Corinne LEPAGE
Lawyer
Former Minister of the Environment