Apr 4, 2007

Let's Label Genetically Engineered Food Already! [LINK]

As promised, another proposal for Deval Patrick's website, a "positive" restatement of an earlier comment I made on a similar proposal:

Due to the unknown dangers posed by genetically engineered foods, and in response to overwhelming support of Americans polled on the issue, I would like to see genetically engineered products labeled prominently, preferably with a big black skull and crossbones. Let agribusiness prove their products are safe! Such labels should be required if, relying on peer-reviewed science, genetically engineered foods are determined to pose any more of a risk than that of consuming organic produce, from broiling or frying any food, or from eating nectarines or pluots. Let's tame this unsustainable biotech-based economy!

UPDATE: I didn't get anywhere near the response I expected. Instead, I was invited to join a "coalition" by the folks whose proposal I thought I was clearly mocking. At least two people had the opportunity to look over my piece before sending me the invitation password. Either these people really are dumb as a bag of hammers, or I'm not doing my job as a satirist. In case it's in any way unclear, though, let's go through it point by point:
  1. To demand safety labels based on "unknown dangers" is a non sequitur.
  2. To demand safety labels based on popular misconceptions is a non sequitur.
  3. "Big black skull and crossbones" should have been a giveaway.
  4. Maybe this counts more as an inside joke, but among those who do risk analysis it's axiomatic that you cannot prove anything is "safe"; there are just different levels of risk.
  5. Everything about the comparable risks of consuming organic food, burned food, or already "engineered" food should have been a giveaway.
  6. Explicitly advocating to suppress economic growth in Massachusetts should have been a giveaway.

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