GMO FOODS WILL SOON BE MISLABELED AS ‘BIOFORTIFIED’
If you have ever been to Berlin, Germany in the late Fall, you know how miserably wet, cold, and windy it can be. The only real refuge from those elements is to be found indoors. But even then there can be events that drive you right back outdoors and into the elements. Such was the case with the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU), which was holding its 40th session during the week of November 26-30, 2018, in that city.
Biofortification is a method of increasing certain vitamin and mineral content of basic food crops by the time-honored, conventional way of cross-breeding, and not through genetic engineering. Harvest Plus, the company behind biofortification, will for example increase the vitamin or iron content of sweet potatoes so that malnourished populations in developing nations will receive better nutrition. This is a very admirable goal, although I have argued at these meetings that perhaps it’s an unnecessary one if farmers would simply employ the proper farming techniques to prevent soil depletion and along with it the vitamin and mineral content of the foods grown in that soil.
For the last several years, the Codex Nutrition Committee has been crafting a definition for Biofortification. That definition would then be used uniformly around the World to apply to those foods conventionally fortified with higher levels of nutrients and everyone would be on the same page whenever the term “biofortified” was used. Indeed, the National Health Federation (NHF), a health-freedom organization accredited by Codex to participate in its meetings and the one whose delegation I led there, was an early supporter at Codex of this definition.
We have already gone through the sordid history, in detail, of how the draft definition of Biofortification had been infused with the disease of GMOs.1 I won’t repeat that history here. Just know that, now, the term Biofortification will have huge ramifications for the entire World. If the pro-GMO forces can succeed in continuing to hide their genetic-engineered foods within the definition of Biofortification and in using its appealing, natural-sounding name to sell their GMO foods, then consumers will be deceived on a worldwide scale.
The term “Biofortification,” at least within European countries, risks consumer confusion as to whether they are purchasing organic products or something else entirely. If Codex were to allow “any method of production” and “any source” to be part of the Biofortification definition, then Codex would be promoting marketing deception of the worst sort. Most consumers want GM foods labelled. In fact, consumer polls across the World have shown this to be true. In the United States alone, some 90% of consumers want such labeling and yet, here, the current, proposed definition will disguise GM foods under the term Biofortification. That is dishonest, disgraceful, and makes a mockery of Codex and its pretensions to credibility and transparency.
With the past and present Chairwomen’s help, the pro-GMO forces have so far been successful in manipulating the biofortification definition. And we are still living in the crater of that explosion that converted something good into something deliberately deceptive.
THE TERM ‘BIOFORTIFICATION,’ AT LEAST WITHIN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, RISKS CONSUMER CONFUSION AS TO WHETHER THEY ARE PURCHASING ORGANIC PRODUCTS OR SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY.”
SCOTT C. TIPS
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